If there is a myth that constantly impregnates Kenyan Football powers, it’s an obsession that there is always a plot against ‘us’ in the politics of the game. That we are not so important in the eyes of the authorities and that we are constantly subjected to unwanted negatives- those of which we share minimal or no relation at all.
This idea in the past few days has gained lots of currency and weight in the wake of the unprecedented one-year ban on the national football coach Adel Amrouche by Africa’s governing body CAF. This, coming at a time when Kenya is on ‘the verge’ of another AFCON Qualifier Group stage appearance- one that they halfway trail 0-1 after a loss to Lesotho last weekend.
Thus, the reaction to Amrouche’s offense by several quarters of football that an urgent appeal- needs to be made.
For starts, let’s accept it- spitting was not a thing many expected, when it did happen, our eyes were all hugged to a whole new sense of the man we have as a coach of the National Team.
Forgive the current predicament he finds himself in, majority of the media personalities will feel nothing for the coach after what they perceive to be an intentional ‘blackout’ just before the Lesotho game. Along some corridor’s, they will tell you ‘we feel nothing.’ I guess that’s what happens when your darling suddenly decides to abandon you; you walk the lone road towards the opposite side of the tunnel.
All this is not meant really to debate Amrouche’s results or behaviour on the touchline or off it without raising a flag and defending ‘our’ guy (I’m trying so hard not to use the word adoption) from what is a case of aggression and unfair campaign from ‘CAF’ to derail the work of a good coach.
But spitting, even if not captured by the cameras or witnessed by a cathedral of soccer fans like Suarez biting or even Mike Tyson’s famous dig to the ear of an opponent surely has no place in football.
Most of the attributes that create a great coach/athlete are those tiny things that make them hard to understand for mere mortals, but in this case there stands to be more.
From that first day in Calabar, Amrouche showed us a side of him some were quick to applaud, others, just stared in disbelief and hoped it was a one-off and a mere outpouring of passion. In a cold, materialistic world that was one of the qualities we ‘Kenyans’ needed in a coach, one that previous men like Ghost, Kheri or even Lama and Michel lacked.
But does the sudden perception that ‘Football is improving’ coupled by a coincided parachute in FIFA rankings mean we forgive Amrouche for his sins? And if not just with our teeth and claws, in disgust with our sputum- since saliva is now too mainstream?
We have created and splashed around in the myth that football is all about winning- the latter has evaded us in the recent past, perhaps explaining our obsession with the former. Against all odds, a CECAFA win is too great a moment to move away from, a FIFA World Cup final appearance at the stands a banquet to behold worthy of a Local League impromptu break and to crown it all the influx of stars outside the borders of this country a source of a sudden surge in confidence.
Football is all about winning. This however does not mean that it’s acceptable to stump on a rival on your way to scoring a 90+3-minute winner, but it implies that when you walk onto it or stand at the side- a whole new set of moral rules come into place. Those that might not be anchored on the chaotic confusion that steer the world, but more the often supported by laws, self-control and common sense.
With all the above notwithstanding, it’s hard to assume the impact of Amrouche’s antics versus results on the Kenyan population. You either love him or hate him, those ‘in between’ or want to imagine, ‘I don’t know him’ are few if not any.
However for this one act, Amrouche opens up himself for perhaps the worst one year of his managerial life. While such an incident live with him for so long, every man deserves to rise again after a fall- doesn’t necessarily have to be on the same spot, sometimes you crawl away and rise when no one else is noticing.