Inability to play football speaks volumes about us

By - Jan 1st 1970

The World Cup is on, and Kenya, as usual, is watching from the sidelines, like the looked down-upon son-in-law who is sent to split firewood when his worthier mate pops in. 

That Kenya is one of the most respected African nations is not in doubt. Our Internet connectivity is tops. Our human resource is competent, and our entrepreneurs as resourceful and ambitious as they come.

Granted, some of our athletes dope like junkies, but that still doesn’t take away our status as a global athletics powerhouse. Why the hell then can’t we play football — or other team sports with the flair with which we run?

The first and most obvious reason is that we have over the years developed a knack for selecting incompetent leaders, not just in sports but in our institutions of learning and politics and government as well.

In the same manner highly regarded men and women who would turn our footballing fortunes around except that they would never get elected, we will ignore experts in the management of national security, education and finance and then wonder why stuff doesn’t work. 

Second, team sports require heavy investments and planning in the short, mid and long term. That we have been unable to pull this off explains why famine relief has been with us since independence and why we let our roads to get torn into pieces.

As a nation, we are big on strategy, but horrible on execution. That is why many noble initiatives degenerate into elephant projects and our education policy overhauls keep running into headwinds. We are the nation that will proclaim plans to go the moon by 2050, and then do absolutely nothing to actualize that dream.   

Finally, team sports require discipline and teamwork both administratively and within the team. Unfortunately, as a people, our sense of discipline and teamwork is abhorrent.

Nothing illustrates this better than the quarrelsome manner in we drive or run our businesses, political parties and family affairs!

We suck at football because we suck at planning and doing.

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