We have to Create Creative Midfielders

Before Harambee Stars faced Zambia in an AFCON qualifier a few weeks ago, Bobby Williamson lamented the lack of creative midfielders in Kenya. Kenya went ahead and lost the match and our midfield manned by England based Victor Wanyama and Collins “Gatuso” Okoth failed to shine and Kenya paid for it. In this match, Victor Wanyama was supposed to play central midfield, a position he is not accustomed to. He kept falling back to defensive mode full time which made him a loose cog in the team.

This led to Kenya always being on the back pedal and soaking in pressure. The other two “midfielders”, Ayub Timbe and Paul Were were out on the flanks.

I have written before that we have more than enough defenders and defensive minded midfielders. This is evident by poor ball handling skills of our players. On the other side we lack talent on the offensive side of things. We always have one lethal striker at a time; the exit of Denis Oliech has given way to Michael Olunga. 

The only creative mind commanding first team role in KPL is Humphrey Mieno, even the lanky journeyman has failed to fill the void left by Jamal Mohammed and John “Mo” Muiruri. Rama Salim was another creative talent but faded as soon as he left Gor Mahia.

Where are our creative minds?

You can create a defender, goalkeeper or even a striker from any player who is interested but you can never teach non-midfield player to play a midfield role. The midfield mindset is inbuilt, it is either there or it is not, there are no two ways about it. So if we lack creative midfielders, it means they are not anywhere around our football pitches.

Systems create behavior, our system of football in Kenya or the lack of it is responsible for lack of creative minds in our clubs. We must start to promote a style of play that allows creative midfielders the room to express themselves. The more we push for direct football from defense to the wings or forwards, the more our creative minds are pushed from the thick of things into oblivion.

Creative minds are fickle minds. We all remember Francis Kadenge who blossomed when Wilbeforce “maradona” Mulamba was fading for AFC Leopards’ and the national team. He was disappointed in his club and quit football before we saw the best of him. These are players who must be nurtured or the system will push them out.

If you watched Cesc Fabregas first matches at Arsenal, you can get the picture of the weaker side of creative minds. They always lack the physical presence central midfielders like Patrick Viera but compensate it with a third eye and brainy command of proceedings on the pitch with crispy passes and changing the pace and flow.

When you place such players in the middle of our self-made players who were molded in the hands of untrained coaches, you find a system that does not appreciate them. This is why our creative midfielders fall out of our football pipeline way before they break into the formal leagues.

To keep these rare but important breed of players in the Kenyan game, football gate keepers must be very deliberate with their development in academies and deployment on the pitch. This will also require clubs to adopt a style of play that utilizes their creative ball handling skills even if it will bear results at the beginning. We have to change our style of play to one that encourages creativity at the centre of midfield.

Back to Basics

We must establish academies that will single out such talent and keep them in the game. This will also help the players develop their weaker sides which in most cases inhibit their progress in the game as they like to exhibit their ball handling brilliance. We have to raise creative mindset in football if we are to create scoring chances for our strikers.

@stuttistician

The Bureau of the FIFA Council  who comprise of the FIFA President and the presidents of each of the six confederations  convened today,Thursday in Zurich and agreed on a proposed slot allocation for the FIFA World Cup™ as of the 2026 edition.

Bernard Mwalala says Nzoia Sugar will fight to stay in the league and has faith in his youthful squad.

Organisers of the Paavo Nurmi Games have announced that three global champions will join Olympic champion Thomas Rohler on the javelin runway in Turku in June.

Gor Mahia management has announced plans to go fully digital in managing their gate collections during home matches and invited bids from interested companies.

Nzoia Sugar defender Edwin Wafula is likely to miss his side's trip to Machakos to face AFC Leopards SC.

Eric Ochieng' aka Cantona is one of most iconic soccer athletes to grace Kenya Premier League in the 1990s.

Fredrick Otieno is a skating hero, a national hero, he rehabilitates street children through skating . Currently the National Coach for the Speed Skating National team, Fred says this is a position he got courtesy of his programs with the skating club he founded; The Nairobi Sprint Skating Club. A student at the Kampala University taking a degree course in Community development, Fred is our Kenyanstar of the week and he opened up to Kenyanstar on the challenges facing skating as a sport and how he uses it to rehabilitate street children..

Mathare United youngster Ahmed Abdallah  feels he is fit for the match against Sofapaka.

Tottenham Hotspur head coach Mauricio Pochettino has ruled out ever managing Barcelona, despite being spotted with Spanish club’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu last week.

Santi Cazorla will not play again for Arsenal again this season, according to Arsene Wenger,

Arsene Wenger has responded on Alexs Sanchez' unclear statements about the player's future at the Club.

Liverpool and Chelsea have reportedly been dealt a transfer blow as it seems target Mahmoud Dahoud has other plans.

Kurt Zouma might move away from Chelsea next season as he has one eye on a World Cup call up for France next year

Alexis Sanchez who has been heavily linked with Chelsea move recently has made a serious statement:

Zlatan Ibrahimovic  has hinted that he will stay at Old Trafford

Tiemoue Bakayoko, the AS Monaco midfielder, is ready to turn down Chelsea for Manchester United provided Jose Mourinho’s club qualifies for the UEFA Champions League.

Bakayoko has been one of Monaco’s key figures in midfield in a season that could end with Ligue 1 and UEFA Champions League glory in the Principality.

The 22-year-old made his France debut in the 2-0 friendly defeat to Spain on March 28 at Stade de France in Paris.

Chelsea was reported to be leading the chase to sign Bakayoko but now the Manchester Evening News has claimed United could steal in.

Mourinho has missed a true defensive midfielder this season that would allow world-record £89.2 million signing Paul Pogba attacking freedom.

But Bakayoko, whose Monaco team beat Manchester City in March to reach the Champions League quarterfinals, reportedly wants to play in the same competition next season.

Chelsea is all but assured of Champions League football next season but United faces a battle, needing to overhaul Liverpool, which it trails by four points for the final qualifying place via the Premier League. Mourinho’s side could also make it by winning the UEFA Europa League, where it faces Anderlecht in the quarterfinal.

Popular Articles

Those who love him, love him with so much passion. Those who hate him, also do so with the same gusto. If a book on ‘The most hated footballers’ were ever to be written, several chapters would be dedicated to him.

Matatu culture is part of living in Nairobi City and the transport means used by all. Soccer fans use their own cars, buses and matatus for traveling to away matches.

The day is September 26th 2010. Kenya U-20 coach Vince Ombiji brought on a young and promising player as the national junior side took on Lesotho. The rookie had an almost immediate impact, as he ran down the Lesotho defense rugged. Fleet foot works, pacy and pin point crosses made him a darling to the fans instantly. Kenya’s next big thing was alive.

The figure of Ksh. 600,000 released by Gor Mahia today, as the total gate collections for the Gor Mahia vs Zoo Kericho match in Kisumu are ‘stupid figures’,  Gor Mahia Organizing Secretary Judith Anyango has told Kenyanstar in a long ranging Interview.

Even thou they finished fourth in the just concluded Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association Basketball championships, Rueben Muraya is one person who has caught the eyes of many. His dazzling dribbling skills and speed has made him a crowd favorite and a contender for the MVP award.

Pauline Naise belongs to a different class, a rare one, with a few names ahead of her. A class of Kenyan stars who have represented the country at International level  in two(or more) different sports, and have excelled at it. The likes J.J Masiga for Rugby and Football,  Aasif Karim for Tennis and Cricket, Carl Tundo for Motorsport and Golf and Collins Omae for Rugby and Athletics. 

She started playing volleyball at the age of nine at Kawaii primary School. Meet Florence Bosire, one of the best setters in the country. Recently,she was part of the Prisons team that won the Africa Women Volleyball Championship trophy for the fourth time. She did not participate but had a hand in the win.

Controversial. Hard tackler. Solid midfielder. Indisciplined... His character is described depending on where you swear your allegiance. A no-nonsense figure on and off the pitch. He commands influence and his contribution to the club cannot be underestimated.

Everton are considering a pre-season friendly in Tanzania as part of their expected new sponsorship deal with SportPesa.

Wilfried Zaha has rejected Gareth Southgate’s suggestion that he had imposed a timescale to be selected again by England, effectively holding the national team to ransom, and has defended his right to instead represent the country of his birth, Ivory Coast.

Bale and Ronaldo both played as Real Madrid beat Athletic Bilbao 2-1 yesterday. Goals from Karim Benzema and Casemiro strengthened their grip on the La Liga title.

However, despite the victory, all is not well at the Santiago Bernabeu. Spanish outlet Diario Gol claimed yesterday that Ronaldo was fuming with Zinedine Zidane for substituting him late on.

The former Manchester United star provided the assist for Benzema's goal but was replaced by Isco in the 79th minute. It was said that Ronaldo believed Bale should have been substituted instead after an abject display.

But Diario Gol claim Bale was also angry after the game. The former Tottenham star's stock is rising in Spain after helping Madrid win the Champions League twice in the past three years. And the Wales international reportedly believes Ronaldo is preventing him from becoming the club's main man.

Bale has to play on the left wing due to Ronaldo's desire to play further up the field. He feels that Zidane is making a mistake by deploying him in that position as he prefers to play on the right, where he can cut inside.

Club chief Florentino Perez is now monitoring the situation as Madrid's two biggest stars aim to do outdo the other. 

A friendly match between Ivory Coast and Senegal was abandoned after 88 minutes after crowd trouble spilled onto the pitch with dozens of fans invading the field of play and confronting players.

The Kroenke camp are big fans of Arsenal’s all-time leading goalscorer is particularly close to the influential Josh, who was appointed to the club’s board as a non-executive director in 2013.

Algeria and West Ham midfielder Sofiane Feghouli admits it will be difficult for the Desert Foxes to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup ahead of Nigeria according to Nigerian Website Completesportsnigeria.com.

Algeria are currently bottom of African qualifying Group B on just one point, five points behind group leaders Nigeria.

Reigning African champions Cameroon are second on two points, while Zambia are third with just a point.

“I think the World Cup is the very best competition in terms of the feelings and emotions that it generates,” Feghouli told West Ham official website on Tuesday. 

“If you haven't played in it, you can't know exactly what it means. I was lucky enough to play in it in 2014 and Algeria played very well. It was a dream come true for millions of Algerians and we made history by reaching the last 16 for the first time.

“We played a historic tie against Germany in which we were on the verge of knocking them out. I was very happy and proud to take part in that incredible adventure.

“I'd like to play in it again in 2018, although it will be very difficult to qualify.”

At the 2017 AFCON in Gabon, Algeria crashed out in the first round.

The Argentine striker scored 91 goals in 146 games for the Partenopei, including 36 Serie A goals in 35 games last season. However, ‘Pipita’ then left for Juventus when the Bianconeri activated his €90m release clause, causing fury in Naples.

Joel Matip on his future with Cameroon:

KS on Facebook