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Exploit Victor Wanyama’s move in a positive way

FOOTBALL By Paul Kariuki | July 21st 2013 | 2 min read

By Paul Kariuki

Kenya: Football fans, especially those who follow the English Premier League, have a reason to smile.

After a long wait, Kenya has produced a quality player in Victor Mugubi Wanyama, who has just inked a lucrative deal with an English Premier League club, Southampton.

As these football fanatics, who shockingly can name the regular starting XI of any English premiership club, something they can hardly do with local clubs, not even the national team, Harambee Stars, await the kick off next month, some will be in for a rude shock.

Some Football Kenya Federation (FKF) officials will possibly be falling over themselves on account of this Kenyan’s export.

Federation honchos are probably planning to be at Saint Mary’s Stadium to share in the adulation of ‘Saint’ Wanyama’s debut match.

Yet some of these officials are also to blame for Wanyama’s elder brother, McDonald Mariga’s, frustrations in joining Manchester City sometimes back.

Their incessant bickering and wrangling over petty issues saw Kenya plunge to an all-time low in international football ranking that even minnows Burundi, Eritrea and Somalia have relative ease picking the back of our net.

The once proud powerhouse of East African football had been rendered into a laughable punching bag of sorts.

While we idolise successful clubs and other world teams, we fail to glean useful lessons of how they morphed into success story. Players like Christiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, to name but a few, are products of football academies.

Given our history of running down even the noblest of projects, it’s not difficult to see why the few football academies (countrywide?) are teeming with latent talent.

Unfortunately, the few academies exist merely to milk money from corporations or sports federations rather than in producing the next crop of sportsmen and women.

Pretense aside, Wanyama, like Mariga and Denis Oliech before him, will find some beef to pick with the FKL officials.

They’re likely to make great capital out of his success and exploits in the field to further maws of corruption as they line the Fifa Zürich Headquarters with begging bowls piteously praying for alms to develop youth talent.

More, Wanyama’s image will be exploited without his consent as a selling point of our country’s football potential.

Yet there is no denying the fact that Wanyama’s move will inspire a generation of youths, who have only dreamt of playing in the lucrative English premiership.

After decades of just selling distance running and, in the past few years, rugby, it is now time to showcase Kenya’s talent in the world’s most popular sport.

Kenyans hope FKF will exploit this situation positively, by setting up youth development programmes.

— The writer is a deaf resident of Nakuru ([email protected])

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