Well, over the weekend we were treated to a match between EPL side Hull City and a selected team of players from Kenya. I would have said Harambee Stars but we all know it wasn’t Harambee Stars. A team of available players took on a Hull City side that had about 3 first team players with the rest being reserves.
We lost 2-1. Not bad. Not good either, nobody plays to lose by a small margin. There were lot’s of positives.
Having the team compete with an EPL outfit is an outright achievement and not something to be taken for granted. It gave our players exposure, prepared them for top stages, and gave them that feel. Ever since the Sportpesa-Hull City partnership took place, we’ve seen Hully City scouts come here, scout for players and help get the talent out there.
16-year old Joshua Otieno, who played for less than thirty seconds before the final whistle, was given some extra time to play with the Hully City under 18s and have a feel of English football. Isn’t that something folks?
Makwata impressed. The 21-year old proved to be not so sharp before the goal, but he showed talent, and hard work, and quality. His call-up to the national team by Coach Stanley Okumbi might have come a little bit late, but it’s still early (we play till we’re 30, aye). He only needs to work on his finishing, and we shall have solved a problem.
On the other hand, we had negatives too. Things we need to learn from and never repeat.
We forgot the future, and went with what we have presently. I mean, look at the purpose of the match. We were to prepare our players psychologically, to equip them with knowledge for future matches. Well, how did we do it? We went for players we’re used to. Players whose main achievement going out there is adding a new line to their CV, not bad but…
I imagine had we taken a team of Joshua Otieno’s agemates, then two or three older players. It would have been a learning experience and would have prepared them for bigger assignments. It would have given them that confidence on bigger stages. Just imagine for a second, how this project will help our football three years after the match. Probably, we won’t have these players (Kina Osborne Monday and Shakava) in three years’ time. But we focused so much on the result. I mean, even if we lost 5-2 to that team, but we play teenagers it will still be fine.
These chances come once in a lifetime. And we hope to see them more. Coach Stanley Okumbi should not be pressured by fans to produce results. Let him work on the long-term solution to the team. And that is, working with youngsters.