It is not the quality of matches that bring out KPL, look between the matches to know where Kenyan football is headed. One season to catch the real situation in KPL is during the mid season break, and the just ended had more drama to swing my pen into action. When one time promising talent like Victor Ochieng’ and Obadiah Ndege are now languishing behind KPL news, there is a problem that needs to be sorted.
KPL clubs have acquired players to replace those dropped, but what guarantee do we have that come November the same players will not be axed and replaced again?
Once upon a time there was a player in KPL by the name of Ibrahim Kitawi. The left footed speedy player featured for Gor Mahia then signed for Tusker under Sammy Omollo. He was dropped by Tusker and he went to Kawangware to feature for Nairobi City Stars. That is the short story of the football life of a player who reports say was once in Ajax Amsterdam’s radar.
My point of concern is that KPL clubs have coaches and team managers and no technical bench. Look at this, Gor Mahia released Yusuf Juma who immediately signed for Sofapaka and his performance has been superb so far. Abdalla Juma was relegated to the bench and soon his position in Sofapaka was never assured. He left for AFC Leopards and the quintessential Abdalla Juma comes out to drill in two free kicks against Thika United.
My realization was that once a player is relegated from first eleven of any KPL team, he is in for a decline in form. This is due to lack of enough qualified personnel in the technical benches of KPL clubs to look at players who are in the shadows of the moment’s action.
Who is meant to sign players?
Another issue is signing players. FC Barcelona is in the process of looking for a centre back to step into the aging Carlos Puyol’s boots. Borussia Dortmund centre back Mats Hummels was a likely replacement, so Barca scouts had to analyze the player. The technical staff tasked with signing players all agreed that Hummels would be a worthwhile investment, BUT!
What about Marc Bartra or Marc Muniesa? These are two youthful defenders coming up the ranks from Barcelona B. What happens to them if Hummels was to go to Barcelona? In the end, they stopped pursuing Hummels because his mode of play is similar to Gerard Pique and so they could not partner. Who analyses players for KPL clubs, or we are still going by cronyism and public opinion?
Look at KPL clubs and you get a situation where club officials with fans like technical skills of football insisting on signing a player just because he is good. Once a good player joins a club and the position he plays has another consistent player he starts to drop in form. The end result is that a good player will be dropped in a way that may lead to the beginning of an end in his career.
What is coaching?
Most clubs in KPL have a head coach, assistant and a few will also have a goalkeeping coach. These three are not enough to handle a squad of up to twenty five players. There is more to coaching than kicking the balls and practicing tactical formations.
There has to be several second team coaches to report to the head coach the progress of a player. Players recovering from injury need extra attention, which many times delay their rehabilitation back to high power performance.
Coaching includes psychological, nutritional and social conditioning. This needs ample time with players especially when they are going through a dip in form. It is time clubs looked at establishing a full strength technical bench to reduce the attrition rate of quality players falling off the development pipeline.