Ten months ago, Victor Wanyama made arguably the greatest move by any other Kenyan footballer when he signed for English Premier League side Southampton FC from Scottish side Celtic FC for 12.5 Million Pounds.
Just like any other country’s citizens would be, Kenyans in our peculiar ways sort to express our pride and glee on our son’s achievements. In the days leading to his actual debut, social media timelines went crazy with all sorts of updates each congratulating Big Vic and ‘SOTON’.
On 17th August 2013, the excitement went through the roof. Southampton, it’s newly acquired legion of fans far away in Africa and it‘s expectant away crowd seated at the Hawthorns welcomed a new jewel, a defensive kingpin and more than ever a debutant with a record breaking Scottish transfer record fee to his name.
As the season progressed, the Southampton jerseys that once roamed the streets of Nairobi gradually dwindled; the numbers that watched the Saints games with initial interest vanished- perhaps a testament to the changing fortunes of one of their own.
But taking nothing away from Victor, 14 consecutive league starts from a player who just got off the Scottish league is a phenomenal start to a much gruesome league.
Predominantly a defensive midfielder, the attention Wanyama got during his time in Scotland might not be the same anymore during his first season in England. While he scored goals and enjoyed bulling defences as well as keeping attackers off his own, the punishing pace and level of the Premier League makes such opportune moments a rarety.
Coupled with a need to adapt to new surroundings and a new style of football at the saints, a first season explosion from him was out of the cards.
His battle with injuries has seen him since start only 5 games in 24 matches for the Saints, dating back to December 7th, but a good run of 4 starts in the last 4 games of the season, a testament of his ability to bounce back from such setbacks.
As a football fan, watching Victor’s elder’s brother battle with injuries in Italy and Spain and Dennis Oliech suffer relegation for the third time in eight years, I’ve learnt to balance my thirst for instant success and the typical ‘happy ever after’ narrative we all wish for.
Next season nonetheless presents another opportunity for Victor and all these stars to dust themselves up for the big stage one more time.
Kenya which Wanyama alongside other European stars represent at National level saw off Comoros 1-0 in an unconvincing fashion.
Questions will be asked of them, what really happened?
The second leg does present a big opportunity for them to show what they got and for those who starred to lay a proper claim to their positions however though- Kenyans must learn that progress depends on several factors.
Leaving for a pro-stint beyond the borders opens a whole world of opportunities but for the not-so-lucky the Kenya Premier League can still be a gem that produces even finer detailed footballers.
Like I pointed above, an ability to make the best out of every situation and position passes the test of passing or even further surpassing fans expectations.
Without questioning the Kenyan quality, the fans need not to be too hard on not just Victor but all other stars and learn to measure their expectations as they appreciate their talents.
Have a positive week, won’t you?