Harambee Stars were bundled out of the 2015 Cecafa tourney by Rwanda who won on penalties, before losing to Uganda in the finals. But Kenya made several mistakes, besides allegations of binge drinking by players and some officials being held over arrears. Here are lessons observed during the tourney:
1. A wanting technical bench
Having made seven changes into the playing unit against Zanzibar in their last group stage match, a sign of disrespect towards the opponent while qualification to the quarter finals hadn’t been guaranteed, the lethargic Harambee Stars broke another record by losing to Zanzibar 1-3 after 35 years. The technical bench of Musa Otieno, Mathews Ottamax and David Ouma led by Bobby Williamson showed lacklustre temperament towards the tournament by assuming qualification to the next round before play.
2. Delay/unpaid allowances
Issues off the pitch dominated the headlines more than football itself. Ironically, Kenya is a regional economic powerhouse, but pay players a measly Sh3,000 per day, yet Somalia, which is recovering from the ravages of a 20-plus year civil war, forked out Sh20,000 per day!
3. Jesse Were’s bad form
The Premier League top scorer managed a solitary goal, via post-match penalties, throughout Cecafa 2015. He should change his style of play from tap-ins inside the six-yard box, to versatile athleticism behind the defences in open play, shooting from outside the box, tearing defenders, more assists and header scores!
4. Ethiopia’s ecstatic fans
The passionate and colourful fans at Hawassa’s International Stadium can be attractive packages for corporate marketers, hence more revenue for the Ethiopian federation, an important recipe for success in modern day football.
The Ethiopian government is building stadiums in addition to Addis Ababa International Stadium, Bahir Dar international Stadium and Hawassa Stadium. Plans are underway to renovate the Addis Ababa stadium ready to host the 2019 Chan championships, a contrast to Kenya’s phantom blue prints and manifestos.