Saturday, Jan 31st 2015

After a ‘normal’ week for Arsenal, Kenya let me down too

Friday, November 16, 2012 - 00:00 -- BY CAROL RADULL
Harambee Stars coach Henry Michel trains players at Kasarani Stadium-David Ndolo
Harambee Stars coach Henry Michel trains players at Kasarani Stadium-David Ndolo.JPG

There’s nothing new to write about Arsenal football club this week because nothing has changed. Last Saturday we were 2-0 over Fulham but lost that lead to draw 3-3.

Normal. Infact had Mikel Arteta’s last minute penalty gone in; the status quo would have been lost. And yes, normal is boring so I won’t even dwell on it.

What I will dwell on is the fact that Harambee Stars have now lost two out of two under “super coach” Henri Michel. The 2-1 loss to Bafana Bafana was bearable because Michel was trying out new players and formations but it is time to take this marriage to the next level.

I didn’t like where he took the relationship on Wednesday. The loss to Tanzania’s Taifa Stars was tough to bear. We may not have had Victor Wanyama or brother Macdonald Mariga in our ranks, but we still had a collection of the “best Kenyan players” out there.

I put that phrase in quotes because I still strongly believe that the national team coach hasn’t really been scouting. The same old names are appearing on his list, even players who didn’t do well against Bafana are still being called up.

I’m beginning to wonder whether Michel is going to be any different from the local coaches we’ve had. I commend Football Kenya Limited for organising these friendlies but until we go down to the root of the problem the friendlies will soon become just games to worsen our Fifa ranking.

Regrettably I didn’t watch the game against Tanzania so I don’t know exactly what went wrong but I saw the line-up and it wasn’t very imaginative.

Later this month we travel to Uganda for the Cecafa Cup minus the international players. I shudder to think what we will achieve.

Actually I would have preferred if we had fielded a full squad of locally based players for the Tanzania game. How else, exactly, woud we preparing for Cecafa?

We will not have the services of Dennis Oliech, Patrick Osiako or Patrick Oboya for Cecafa or African championship (CHAN) so we should have given other players a chance.

I would have accepted the defeat better knowing we were developing the Cecaha and Chan squads for competition. I am very confused now.

I would really like to see Henri Michel’s plan to win Cecafa or at least qualify for the Chan finals because somehow it looks to me like we’re groping in the dark.

We open the Cecafa tournament against hosts Uganda who almost qualified for AFCON 2013 so it won’t be long before we find out whether the French tactician will take us anywhere or just take us through another embarrassing period in our national football environment.

It’s taking me a lot of willpower not to scream but to say let’s hang in there with Michel a little while longer; at least until the Cecafa tournament.

I do admit I’m very nervous about the future of Harambee Stars. Heroes of the week! Tusker FC, 2012 Tusker Premier league Champions! Congratulations!


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