Budding talent at AFC points to bright future

Monday March 7 2016

AFC Leopards' head coach Ivan Minnaert after being unveiled by the club on February 26, 2016.  PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

AFC Leopards' head coach Ivan Minnaert after being unveiled by the club on February 26, 2016. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Even the most pedestrian of Manchester United fans is demanding the head of Louis Van Gaal, the club’s manager.

Now nearing the end of his second season at the club, LVG is not about to match the achievements of his predecessor Alex Ferguson.

With the ever demanding fans baying for his blood, LVG may not have the time, resources or goodwill to even go beyond this season. So bad are things that haters now think he is the worst thing to ever happen to their beloved club, easily forgetting his immediate predecessor David Moyes’ more pathetic legacy.

But for all his shortcomings, even the most unforgiving of Man U fans must have the heart to acknowledge the old Dutchman’s contribution to the club’s rich legacy.

Granted, the guy has not won the club any trophy during his tour of duty. However, as and when he decides to throw in the towel or is hounded out by the Old Trafford chiefs, LVG will leave the club with something to look forward to in the years to come.

During his stint at the club, LVG has literally discovered Man U’s next generation, hugely gifted youngsters ready to conquer the world in the manner the class of ’92 did.

Teenage striker Marcus Rashford is the poster boy of this future Man U.

Others in this generation include Timothy Fosu Mensah, Jesse Lingard, Tyler Blackett, Andreas Pereira, Paddy McNair and Cameron Borthwick Jackson.

By keeping faith in this lads, LVG is not inventing the wheel. Global soccer powerhouse Barcelona has guaranteed its present and future success through the endless supply of talent from its famed La Masia Academy. Talk of the guy regarded as the club’s best ever, Xavi, or Messi, or even Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola, they are all products of this football nursery.

The supply is infinite, from Sergio Busquets to Sergi Roberto, Thiago Alcantara to his sibling Rafinha, Iniesta to Gerard Pique, Pedro to Marc Bartra, to name but a few.

It takes courage to follow the path taken by the lords of Barcelona as well as LVG.

Not many coaches out there are bold enough to sacrifice immediate triumphs for a long term success plan in the full knowledge that they may not be there to take credit for the results.

The challenge for coach Ivan Minnaert is to mould the youngsters within his ranks into the future Ingwe.

To do this, he must put faith in the likes of Abuko, whose talent is so obvious that even the Harambee Stars scouts have taken note and called him up to the national team.

There is Alfred Wekesa “Kemboi” waiting for his chance, as are others like goalkeeper Mukolwe, Kennedy Owino and many more.

That is the way to go, not the Tusker and K’Ogalo way of recruiting journeymen from other clubs.