By Francis Nandi
Congratulations to the Zambia’s chipolopolo bullets for winning the African cup of nations. They deserved it both on the technical and divine providence grounds. For Gabon to be one of the co-host of this tourney, it would be an inspiring tale that Zambia should win since their 1980s to midnineties generation perished in the very city they lifted their maiden African trophy. The tournament itself showcased how much soccer is leaping in bounds continent wide. Apart from Botswana the so-called minnows performed admirably well. Equatorial Guinea, Sudan, and Gabon have totally signalled new footballing charts in the continent. That should provide as a catalyst to revive the almost-improving-but still-ailing- Kenyan soccer. Indeed Sudan’s quarter final achievement should be perceived as an affront by the Kenyan soccer administrators, media, players, fans and other soccer welfare groups.
Albeit being the co-host, and with huge moral support, Equatorial Guinea proved technically that they are a team that can confidently take on other more established teams in the continent. The manner in which they took the game to Senegal, Libya and Zambia backs my statement. However it is to be noted that in their squad they had some naturalised players hence a spice to their all-round success. And so prospects loom large for an improved position with regards to the Coca- cola FIFA rankings. For Kenya we already have our own home grown and soccer gifted talents who only need a proper direction to fulfil their ambitions. This includes essential logistical support from the federation, enhanced technical ability of today game this is more facilitated by the academies sprawling all over the country, getting acquainted with the history of the country’s footballing record should be unveiled. I think this will form a larger part of inspiration and self-motivation for the players. It could be a nice thing for the current players to have former players as their idols apart from the current worldly-famed players.
Kalusha Bwalya a former Zambian legend as a player has ably demonstrated that with the right administration perhaps headed more effectively by former players, does bring the desired and much-appreciated results. His country has witnessed that already and now they are embarking on even world-wide ambition. To qualify for the world cup in the year 2014 and not to talk about securing their trophy once more when the tourney will be held in South Africa next year.
The same sentiments should be extended to Gabon who featured most of its under 23 squad that will premier in the London 2012 Olympic Games. The continental tourney which witnessed their elimination in the quarter final stage should prove a burning ambition for them to perform excellently in the Olympic Games.
On the local front, the country has its own under 23 side that although hurriedly assembled performed well in its two high profile friendly matches that included a 1-0 loss to Senegal and the respectable draw against Guinea. If anything, the national team should use those two matches as a spring board towards their next year nations cup qualifiers against Togo and the round one world cup qualifiers.
It will be even bettered if the local league should be more competitive as it is bound to happen. That the national team jersey shouldn’t be guaranteed to the numerous professional players the country has. The nation’s cup tournament which this 28th edition witnessed more local based players who went for the jugular by showcasing their worth. It was no surprise that the star-studded Senegal, Ghana, Guinea, Morocco and finally the Ivorian’s struggled to cope with.
May the same spirit engulf our national team and let their be fierce competition between the local players plying their trade at home and those in abroad. Harambee stars with this kind of a radical approach will surely rise to occasion . Sudan has set the stage already and was it not for the last minute failure by Uganda to qualify for the nation’s cup. I would bet my life on Uganda performing to the peak. The other so called soccer minnows have woken up from their slumber. It’s high time the soccer national team once a regular campaigner in the African football charts to start re asserting its dominance.
For a start if they should be tagged as a resurgent minnow.