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Back AFC and Gor for Stars to do well

By DOMINIC ODIPO | December 30th 2013


Students of statistical theory will be well familiar with the concept of spurious correlation. Two seemingly unrelated events seem to happen in exactly the same way, even though we cannot see any obvious connection between them.

The fish in a pond in Vancouver, Canada, begin reproducing at exactly the same rate as the women of Bulawayo District in Zimbabwe.

But there are many other correlations in nature which are not quite so spurious and which can easily be used as Policy handles or determinants.

Positive correlation

Keen followers of Kenyan football or soccer will have noticed that every time the country’s two top soccer club sides, Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards, start doing well in the local league, the national soccer side, Harambee Stars also begins winning its matches. When this year’s Premier League ended last month, Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards were right up there at the top. A week or so later, in the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in which Harambee Stars was taking part began right here in Kenya, we saw Harambee Stars scoring some great goals.

The exact reasons for this positive correlation do not matter for the purposes of this article.

But the point needs to be made that the Government could easily raise the standard of Harambee Stars by supporting both AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia. If these two teams somehow manage to pull up Harambee Stars, it ought to make sense to support them if you want to help Harambee Stars.

And the reverse argument also needs to be made. If you don’t support them, then you really have no interest in pulling up the standard of Harambee Stars.

Within three weeks, these two teams will begin carrying our national flag and national anthem to all sorts of corners of the African continent.

Soccer glory

What plans has the Ministry of Sports and Culture made to help these teams succeed in their continental assignments?

If no such plans have been made, as I suspect the case is, would it not make more sense to inform these teams right now, so that they know they are on their own from the very beginning and proceed accordingly?

 The case for supporting these teams is overwhelming. First, football is the most popular sport in this country.

And, second, these two teams have the greatest potential for bringing soccer glory to this country.

Both of them have demonstrated in the past while running on shoestring budgets that they are winners. We hope the new Ministry of Sports will open its eyes to some of these manifest realities and act in the national interest.

Not to mention the fact that supporting these teams would go a long way towards strengthening the Jubilee government’s hold on those areas where most of the supporters of these clubs live.

For some odd reason, the Kibaki government never supported football as most of us thought it should have.

We hope our new Sports ministry will recognise football as the king of all the sports in this country and support it accordingly, beginning from the youth level, through to the club level and the schools, all the way to the level of Harambee Stars..

The writer is a lecturer and consultant in Nairobi.

[email protected]


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