It is good to see common sense prevailing in Kenyan football
Arsenal will have to take a bit of a back seat today because I have local football issues that are burning in my mind. This week I came so close to throwing in the towel and abandoning Kenyan football altogether. The events of the past two weeks in the Kenyan Premier League regarding the Top 8 tournament gave me a feeling of helplessness and frustration. Every player in the whole affair had a point to back what they were saying or doing; but sometimes it just takes discussions and reasoning to make things work.
AFC Leopards had a point in that they were concerned over their security and that they were not invited to pre-match meetings; although I do worry that AFC had many other issues ranging from lack of funds as well; while FKF too raised the issue of security which KPL didn’t address with them. KPL had their point in that everything had been organised and security was in place; they just didn’t communicate that well. Gor Mahia’s issue was to get their league match with Ulinzi postponed which they managed to secure; but other than that, they trained and turned up for the match at Kasarani on Sunday.
In the midst of all these issues; no-one wanted to talk to people on the opposing side and iron out the problems that would stop the Top 8 match from being played. It was only after Gor had been awarded the game and AFC Leopards fined, that FKF and KPL realised that things had come to a head and sat down to talk. And believe it or not; an agreement was reached and many other pending issues were discussed as well that will hopefully see a better relationship between FKF and the KPL in future.
The decision on the Top 8 from the meetings was that Gor would retain the walk-over but AFC Leopards would not have to pay the fine after FKF confirmed that KPL had not handled all the pre-match issues as expected. Now we all make mistakes and over-look certain issues, but the hope is that the problems are resolved before something we regret happens. I regret that fans were denied the pleasure of watching Gor Mahia play AFC Leopards. I regret that two bodies that are the centre of football in Kenya; and one club that is so important to the very DNA of Kenyan football – AFC Leopards, could not sort out these issues before last Sunday.
I will not abandon Kenyan football but I also realise that the game is bigger than the institutions. It would be wonderful if we all respected each other’s roles and worked together as we would achieve so much more that way. I’m glad that meetings held this week will hopefully see football “fathers” in Kenya focus on the common goal of building the game at home; instead of trying to show who is in charge and who will have the final say. Personally I don’t need to have the final say; but I do need to see great football – and an AFC Vs Gor match, would have been “great football.”