Most of the football fans in the country are longing for the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) to kick off with various club officials voicing their concerns over the delay saying it is adversely affecting their plans for the 2017 season.
It is true that the coming of a new season is supposed to bring blinkered hope and optimism among teams but even the most whimsical of KPL supporters, however, are struggling to smoke out a single reason for optimism from the embers of a shambolic pre-seasons many a teams have participated in. Bar Gor Mahia who made trips in Sudan and Uganda (both paid by the opposing teams), no any other team has had a preparation worth mentioning.
Walk through any social media forum discussing football and you have a feeling that we still have a long way to go if our own KPL is to be ranked among the best in the continent. The club licensing is just one exercise that proved we are lagging behind in matters professionalism - a key pillar in running a better competition. Look at the preparations of teams we sent to represent us in the continental scene and you left with nothing but to wonder where we started gong wrong.
Ahead of the season opener, I look at the good, the bad and the ugly of KPL team’s disastrous preparations.
The good: The talent is there, albeit sparingly
Having a few players in the foreign leagues is a clear indication that we are not bereft of talents in this country and this can be testified by the moves some of our national team players have made in recent months.
At home you have to marvel at some talents on show. I don’t need to mention names but the KPL Under 20 tournament - which I hope is turned into a league one day -exhibited some of the best young talents on show. Walk into the nation’s second tier, the National Super League (NSL) and you will have to agree that with proper blueprint, we can match the best teams in the continent.
For those who have been a keen to this preseason, I believe you have already earmarked one or two players whom you feel will make an impact this coming season. As for me, keep your eye on Kariobangi Sharks’ Bolton Omwenga.
The bad: Substandard coaches, Poor planning
Ulinzi Stars are just two games away from making it to the group stages of the CAF Confederations Cup but you just as me know that a task against Smouha SC, the current fourth best team in the Egyptian league will be a tall order. Eliminating Al Hilal, via post match penalties, who had not kicked a ball for the better part of last year due to the turmoil experienced in Libya tells a lot about the soldiers’ preps.
Why the poor plan? Not to underrate any coach, I believe the guys at the technical areas a times do not know what their job entails. If you want to prepare well for a mighty clash you have to make demands (Ze Maria has always insisted on his players having to travel by air for their away matches). If the management cant agree to your terms, pack and leave. Failure or success is always written on your CV as a coach not that of the management.
If I were Nsimbe, I would have demanded for a friendly tie with a proper side before taking on Africa. Better still if you can’t organize a friendly, send scouts to study oppositions to give you a head start- prepare poorly and you are out, there are no short cuts in this game.
The ugly: Same old story
This is not the first time proper fans are lamenting on the standards of our game and as it stands, things are not changing anytime soon. This preseason was a perfect chance for clubs to show us a different them but instead stuck on old tricks.
We still can’t invite a proper sides for friendlies. The best we have still cling on other club’s to fund friendlies that are beneficial to them. Teams are still not willing to fork out money to improve their teams. We are still being treated to imaginary Turkey Camps at a time when our flag bearers in the continental scene can’t even string a series of passes in a proper football match. Same monkeys, same forest.