Before our football can dream of world status, Africa must be conquered. Before our football can come of age, growing up has to take place. Before our football can make you and I live the dream- our clubs have to dream.
Success is found by those who want it, absolute success is found by those who want it real bad. How bad do we want it? That must be the question you and I think of every time Al Ahly, TP Mazembe, Orlando Pirates player’s et al climb up the dais after the final 180 plus minutes of Champions League/Confederations Cup football has been played.
For a gruesome 16 ties (1440 plus footballing minutes), a winners medal over an African Club jersey becomes the greatest justification to hard work, right investments and perfect decisions by a club. In a game where the winner and loser is certainly separated by the slightest of margins, a chance to outmaneuver your opponent should always be a welcome opportunity.
I don’t think there would be any better time to write about something like this than when the two most supported clubs in Kenya just got over the first hurdle of African continental football.
With a near fanatical support behind them and a sold out crowd waiting eagerly for the next set of ties involving the two- a slight blur of uncertainty clouds the aspirations of not just players, an entire country’s football pride risk being put to the shame.
See, in as much as club football incorporates various elements of foreign bodies and beings- the onus is always on the federation and a country’s pride.
Today the AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia administrations can’t all bury their heads in the sand and pretend everything is right and organized going into the second round of the continents greatest club competitions.
Save for AFC Leopards who have a cushion of the sponsor’s money, Gor Mahia have categorically announced they are fast running out of cash to cater for their preparations.
The uncertainty coupled by a sense of hopelessness and no fall back option makes it hard for a club to dare to dream.
At a moment when the economic bug seems to bite every single part of this country, holding onto a sponsor who’s been faithful is not just wise but also calculated. Attracting another on short notice would be a plus but it in real sense chops out the time frame for proper negotiations and elimination of exploration loop holes.
Sad for me to write about ‘community’ without mentioning the huge numbers and years that proudly decorate the background of such great names.
The question here and now might be, why is there no fall back plan? What happens to gate collections, title winning cash awards, club projects? The answer is plain and simple, they don’t exist. It’s far worse than running a village kiosk, maybe so close to a officiating a village soccer game played 33 men (18 on one side, 15 on the other).
While we all agree that the clubs haven’t been able to thoroughly maximise on these factors economically, it’s a shame pointing out that the future still looks bleak.
In a country where numbers are viewed as ballot winning fields and crusades for hopeful politicians, football has done itself so much damage in this sense. The other day on twitter an argument ensued between pro-Sonko and Anti-Sonko sides just after he handed a cash donation to the two clubs for a good continental performance.
We shall have to remember that, in the past politicians have always splashed the cash after every win or penalty saving heroics for this case. While the money can be rarely accounted for, it’s also right to say- no one has ever stood up and cried in a loud clear voice; it should be worth much more than a few thousands that ends after one or two visits to the local.
Always ready with a begging bowl whenever a deep pocket pays a courtesy call- football clubs have long lost the idea of foresight and embraced the YOLO slogan.
Great clubs are built after years of toil and sweat, mistakes and numerous fails but the greatest turning point has been the point where the about turn is made.
Proper planning gets the best out of every market (financially, proper fan base, great facilities), promises success- needs patience and the greatest ending of it all- the actual success we all dream of.
For now though, our bowls next to our mouths, like a malnourished baby- the sight of any glittering metal in the sand (a sign of much-needed relief) , but the harsh reality- it was just for a moment.
“Failing to plan, is planning to fail”- Alan Lakein