What you need to know:
- We were made to host Fifa’s most valuable item at a time when we had no business in any form of engagement in the sport. The irony of life.
- Before we even dream of competing at the World Cup, we should first focus on making the Africa Cup of Nations our own little playground.
An old woman is always uneasy when dry bones are mentioned in a proverb, so wrote the late Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe in his highly-acclaimed novel, Things Fall Apart.
On Thursday, when the Fifa World Cup trophy landed in the country for a two-day tour, the Kenyan football fraternity may as well have been the picture perfect depiction of Achebe’s famous quote.
How bad could the timing of such a momentous occasion have been? I mean, here we are, a country indefinitely banished from all football activities by the sports global governing body, then as if to spite us, the very same Fifa dispatches their highly-prized 18-carat solid gold trophy for public viewing in Nairobi.
In short, we were made to host Fifa’s most valuable item at a time when we had no business in any form of engagement in the sport. The irony of life.
That his desire is that the next time the trophy tours Kenya, Harambee Stars will be champions? I ask, champions of what? Football? Mr President, your intentions are very good, but sorry sir, not in this lifetime!
Kenya can be champions on many other things, including corruption, unaccountability and the political nonsense – that we are presently being treated to in the run up to the General Election – but not football.
Speaking of corruption, isn’t it the reason why Kenyan football is where it is today in the first place? No need to belabour the point.
On the matter of playing at the World Cup, it’s a no-brainer that before we even dream of competing at that level, leave alone winning the trophy, we should first focus on making the Africa Cup of Nations our own little playground.
Unfortunately, that basic objective appears to be presently way beyond our reach, the expansion of the biennial continental tournament to a 24-nation event notwithstanding.
But I digress. Maybe it's somewhat misguided to begrudge Fifa for flaunting their prized trophy to us citizens of a nation that in all likelihood will never play at the World Cup.
Didn’t we bring it all on ourselves when we dared Fifa to “slap us with that ban of theirs” so that we can sort out ourselves and fix our game? And didn’t the gods of football grant us our wish by banishing us from their hallowed shrines until heavens know when?
It’s tragic that even after earning that suspension that we so desperately wanted, we now appear clueless on what to do with it.
At the lapse of its six-month term of office early, there was little to write home about the Caretaker Committee that the government established to run the game in the country following the disbandment of Football Kenya Federation (FKF) sometime late last year.
Ditto the transition committee that is presently managing football activities in the country.
Worryingly, ever since the suspension came into force, there have been no indications of the government’s active engagement with Fifa to resolve the impasse. Which explains why Harambee Stars have since been kicked out of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers due to begin early next month.
We are indeed in a very bad place. Maybe it’s time for us to confess our sins and beseech the gods of football to look favourably into our predicament.