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Nick Mwendwa, Kenyans do not hate you, they just love their football more

By Clay Muganda | November 14th 2021

Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, Mr Nick Mwendwa, wherever you are, which should not be not any place where the growth of football is being discussed.

It has been a tough few days, but fans of Kenyan football hope you are fine and away from Football Kenya Federation offices.

For almost a week you have really suffered, but to be fair, not as much as football has suffered under your watch.

On Thursday, when the Sports Ministry pulled the pitch from under your feet, you protested bitterly, but football fans were least bothered because you were getting a taste of your own medicine.

They were overjoyed. You had disrespected and insulted their sensibilities for far too long and finally, someone had not only belled the cat but kicked it out of national football offices. Fans have been protesting bitterly about the poor and failing standards of football, but instead of listening, you hit them with the ball in the face by saying Kenya lacks footballing talent.

You know that is not entirely true, for, while seeking office, you promised to nurture talent and ensure that football grows. Why did you promise to nurture a non-existent thing?

You made promises which fans of football have been asking you to honour, but you classify them as enemies of progress yet the poor results of your decisions are visible to the whole world.

The results do not inspire hope and fans are disappointed that you are killing, nay, have killed, football. But to you, they are wrong and you are right, as always. When they ask about the haphazard manner of hiring national team’s coaches, you dismissively give them excuses, not explanations.

You also accuse them of turning a blind eye to the fact that football is growing. But it is not easy to see something growing in a grave with a cordon of your cronies around it.

When their worst fears that football is dead are realised after the national team soaks in goals, you concoct more excuses and accuse them again.

Never in the history of an incompetent FKF has Nick Mwendwa ever admitted to taking a wrong step and looked for a better path. Your juggernaut of yes men and women moves on, crushing everything in its path, without caring about the consequences.

Sadly, that everything on whose soul you walk and whose spirit you crush, is football. Its bones creak under your feet but you cannot hear that or its cry and that of the fans because in your book, you can only listen to yourself and not even State officers who are career diplomats are worthy of your attention.

As your juggernaut moves on, it is evident that you are taking football backwards. Your archaic management style is not for the 21st-century game.

It is for a pre-historic, primitive era before the world started chronicling the history of football. A time when football was not a universal multi-billion-shilling sport but a dreary pastime for people who threw pity parties and glorified poverty and sufferance.

A period when you had to be illiterate, uneducated, even uncouth to be considered a good footballer. When people with rough edges, glazed eyes and bad mannerisms were the kings and queens of the pitch.

Trying to manage football with the mindset of that era is the surest way of killing the game. You have been doing everything to take football back there, thinking that is empowerment. It is not. That is disempowerment.

Football is a team sport of several players with different specialities but you are a team of one. You are more visible and louder than all footballers, coaches, managers and fans of Kenya’s clubs put together. You are the titular head, face and voice of football on its deathbed.

You want to be in charge at all times, but when things go south, you wail about government interference and talk about being banned by Fifa, which has also said that Kenyan football will suffer if that decision is taken.

It is already suffering under your watch without the ban anyway, and that ban might be its lifeline.

Of course you inherited a shambolic office and the orphans of your equally belligerent predecessor were on your neck. Instead of fighting for football so good results could be your shield and defender, you were fighting your real and very many imagined enemies.

When reminded or asked about the promises you made, you rant in public and in private by calling our personal numbers and making our phones and earshot. I have been your victim. You give a new meaning to talking someone’s ear off.

So, Mr Mwendwa, it is not you, it is us. Kenyans want to take their football to the next level and they don’t want to traumatise you by dragging you along. They do not hate you. They just love their football. You can tell Fifa that. Have a good day. And keep off football.

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