Any football match is fun to be at: the atmosphere there is electric, regardless of the results. It may be boring fun, exciting fun, even the worst fun. I know it may not make sense!
This past Saturday, June 2nd, Kenya’s Harambee Stars and Malawi’s Flames were among the countries taking part in the World Cup qualification matches all over Africa. Kenya is in the same group as Malawi, Nigeria and Namibia. For us to qualify for Brazil 2014, we have to finish top of our group.
I don’t know how to explain football rules to non-football fans (yes, I’m using football because American football is mainly handsy so it should not even be called football and because football is British English which we were taught in school). Sorry I digressed. I’m saying I can’t start explaining the rules to non-football fans, but I can drag you to the next game I will attend so I can explain to you how it’s done live. Just know that when we win, we get 3 points. When we draw, we get 1 point each (the other team also gets a point.) When we lose, we get 0 points.
Fans turned up in large numbers: The match raised Kshs 6.7 million from gate collection.
This is the first round of qualification matches. Kenya will have to play Malawi away (in Malawi), Nigeria both home and away, and Namibia home and away. A home match has the advantage of fans support and familiarity with the turf. We threw two free points away when we played a shoddy game against Malawi.
The match was played at the ‘refurbished’ Kasarani Stadium along Thika Road. (Speaking of Kasarani, why do we still call it Moi International Sports Center? Can we find a more deserving hero for the only international standard stadium in Kenya?). We made our way there, where we found that even by 3pm, the gates weren’t open yet! And the game was beginning at 4pm. Police had a tough time controlling crowds, they were not very organized at Gate 2. We left and tried using another gate that was further away. At least we got settled in before the match.
The stadium does look good. It’s cleaner than the last time I was here, and the lower tier wooden benches have all been replaced with plastic (backless) seats. Which are done in some Orange, blue, yellow colours. Wonder why they didn’t do them in Kenyan colours?! The middle-tier with plastic seats that have a backrest (tickets are a bit more expensive) was looking good as well. The upper-tier is just concrete terraces but the view is still fantastic.
The match was largely boring and uninspiring, Malawi showing signs of brilliance but our goalkeeper (Tusker FC’s Boniface Oluoch) saved us from a number of shots and with some good defending, no goals were scored on either side! Trying to get any action shots from media houses of the match, but finding none as of yet!
In the end, we did enjoy our time at the stadium, but we are still wondering when Kenya will start performing better? When they will ever print the names of the players on classy kit? (the uniform looks like it was picked up from Muthurwa) When Kimanzi will be removed as head coach? etc. Meanwhile, I look forward to the resuming of the Kenya Premier League, which has been on a break. That’s why I haven’t been writing football. Because AFC Leopards has not been playing!