When a player signs for Gor Mahia or AFC Leopards, the footballing society usually expects him to flourish to the greatest of heights. It’s every fans dream to see his/her team with all the players playing to the best of their abilities, after all- that’s what brings wins and joy..
However the reverse is more than often true, not every player shines at the grand stage. Others slump, others- like a slow puncture fizzle away gradually. Eventually, depending on the coach of the day, they are either dropped or kept in hope of a future return to form.
Not everyone’s story is the same and not everyone’s should, otherwise football would be one long boring tale that could be foretold from child birth.
For the hardworking, disciplined and lucky ones, signing for AFC Leopards or Gor Mahia is just a step to the start of greater things.
Many players have walked this path and found themselves grazing greater pitches; others have taken this road and forever lived in the memories, never again to experience it.
For Allan Wanga and Anthony Akumu, the latest entrants into this exceptional group of class- their football careers took a turn last week, the latter went away on a 6 month loan deal as Allan signed a one year deal with Sudan’s Al-Mereikh.
Various pundits have foretold of an imminent departure for a few more of Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards elite squad members- you wouldn’t deny it, seeing it happen in the past must have tuned us for the future.
For Kenyan Football, the Nairobi Derby is the grandest stage of them all. No other football fixture rivals this game in terms of hype, history, popularity or let me say even quality.
Under the cloud of the noise this afternoon a special group of chosen individuals will seek to showcase their best ability to a whole country, seek to divert a multitude of fans away from the World Cup hype and more than ever seek to upgrade their profile with a memorable performance..
For others, however, it might be their last.
Not their club’s wishes, not that of the fans either- actually where it’s just up to them alone, they might have chosen to stay on forever.
For the football fan, this afternoon, his/her eyes will indulge in a footballing feast brought to him either by satellite or ability to get into the stadium- for the player he is on a constant journey, either to the top or closer to the bottom.
Another that is on a constant journey is the season and with its transfer windows wide open, decisions need to be reached rapidly.
Blank out the financial issues dogging Gor Mahia or the itchy pockets of AFC Leopards, a brilliant performance by a player today might just be the big break he needs to further his career. The reverse though must not certainly mean a slump in career; however, no player wants to leave a derby with fingers of blame pointing at him.
So no matter how you view it selling and buying is the business of football, profit making and happiness the end result and the players’ just commodities in a free market whose value depends on the slightest of margins mostly determined by the last impression rather than lasting impressions.
Nairobi Derby rightfully therefore provides the stage for the performance that bears the lasting impression at the pure time.. Who will grab it, who will let it drop?
(Image credits www.capitalfm.co.ke)