Where are me clever friends now? That is a line from one character in an obscure and rare play that barely I in this world hold the only copy extant.
It was written by a drunk who spoiled his artistic talent even before it budded. He drunk all the time and could never hold a pen to finish it.
When SportPesa made a tournament and set up teams from Tanzania and Kenya to compete for it, he was very unhappy. The reason for his sour emotions stemmed from the fact that the national team was just about to embark on qualifiers for the Africa Cup of Nations. There were many players who thought it wise to play for their clubs instead of going for the national duty.
That decision is obviously wrong and most of us think that the highest honours usually come from appearing in national colours for your country. My pal was very categorical that the players who missed the national duty ought to be punished for such folly.
It is right that they should have been punished but my chum was wrong on one part. He called the SportPesa tourney a “Mickey Mouse tournament”.
As far as he was concerned, it was a tournament that would add nothing to the growth of the players; it was a big joke with hints of sabotage; it should not have been taken seriously at all.
We agree with him and all of his ilk but we must point out that if the country treats these players better than their clubs do, then such simple “problems” will just disappear in one day!
Football Kenya Federation in its own capacity, admitted that those players ought to have been punished but in its wisdom - which is very rare - decided to instead counsel them and tell them of the greater advantages of playing for the national team.
FKF wanted the “silly” boys to know what individual good they can gain from just appearing for the national team.
They did not talk about the paltry allowances that the players are entitled to; that should be left to the Salaries and Remunerations Commission run by people who know nothing about sports and are too old to learn anything about it. Shindwe! They waived the punishment part to our surprise since we expected them to do as they have always done sans thought.
The tournament was not “tiny” as my friend opined. It brought about the Everton and Gor Mahia match that really amazed us and made us feel that it is possible. It was a match of equals and those teams must be forced to play more on this continent since the English Premier League reaps just too much money from Africa.
We must laud SportPesa for the initiative and we hereby urge them to find ways of hanging on to sponsoring our sports despite the tax issues.
We may even vote for those who will do away with the tax. We don’t care anymore.