Why Brazil skipped Kenya

Why Brazil skipped Kenya

Why Brazil skipped Kenya

Soccer being a second religion in the South American country, Brazilian football is branded as the best of them all in the world. Throughout its century-long history, the Brazil national soccer team has managed to create an aura of invincibility, winning the World Cup a record 5 times and being the only team to have featured in all world cups.
Wednesday afternoon Brazil beat Zimbabwe 3-0 in Harare in one of their world cup warm up match in a capacity filled stadium.

Flashback to 2009 when the Brazilian greats visited this region for a series of friendly matches and community service, it was not by chance that they decided to tour East Africa. This was a long term plan to survey the standards of football in the region. At the time of their visit some murmurs were rife that the team was here in East Africa for some spying mission for a possible training program or a friendly match for their national team come the world cup time. Among the players and technical bench of the Allem team were well connected individuals to the Brazilian senior national team technical bench with one of them seating on the current technical bench in South Africa.

As an insider and part of the organizing team during the entire Allem Brazil team tour of East Africa - I had access to some important information regarding the senior team and there existed a 75% surety that Brazil would play one friendly game in East Africa as their world cup warm up match en route to South Africa. Among other reasons, the Kenyan/regional climatic conditions which are similar to the South African played a huge role in the possibility. Having toured and played friendly matches in Kenya , Burundi and Uganda, Kenya’s Kasarani and Uganda’s Namboole stadium stood chance of welcoming the world heroes.

However, Kenya’s lukewarm treatment of the Brazilian great’s through a section of the media and the frustrations offered to the team by FKL officials who at some point rubbished the team’s visit equating them to a bunch of old men downplayed all the positive chances we stood in hosting the Samba boys. At some point, one of the FKL official was quoted to have suggested the team would add no value to the Kenyan football not knowing that the world cup was close and the team’s good treatment would be a plus to our football. These press statements in turn killed the morale of the fans who stayed away from Kasarani.
The Allem team had some of the greatest World footballers of yester years including 1994 world cup winner Paulo Sergio who holds close links with Dunga his former team mate and current Brazilian coach.

“We have toured different countries around the world but never have we been treated so badly like we have been treated here in Kenya.” Those were the words of Paulo Sergio who was the captain of the Allem Brazil team when he spoke to the press after the match at Kasarani. The Allem team was also expected to travel with Lucio and Kaka who are some of the world renowned players and included in the world cup squad but they couldn’t break their busy season at the time.

The possibility of Brazil playing in East Africa became even closer to reality when they were pooled in the same group with Ivory Coast. As a result of that pooling it was a foregone conclusion that Brazil would at least play one if not two warm up matches with some African country. The natural technical decision would have been either for them to arrange a friendly match with a West African country that plays similar system of soccer with Ivory Coast or seize the second available option to Dunga which was to find a team that had been pooled in the same pool with Ivory Coast during the African/World cup qualifier.

With Harambee Stars having played in the same pool with Nigeria, a West African Country, Kenya stood a chance of piping other East African States in having a date with the Samba Boys. Unfortunately for Kenya and fortunately for Tanzania who put up a strong case to the Brazilian technical bench in terms of their unrivaled campaigns and handsome pay to the team as appearance fee coupled with the fact that they have played Ivory Coast in recent past they were red hot favorites.
I can authoritatively report that none of the Kenyan Officials or Federation tried to do a follow up with the Allem Brazilian greats to get an upper hand in luring the best team in the world according to recent FIFA ranking to have a stop over in Kenya. Their might have been other diplomatic efforts with our best bet being to use ambassadors who would have marketed our nation to the Brazilian National team technical bench at no cost with very little effort if  any from our side.
Besides, the hope was dwindled further when the Sports stadia management board decided to close down the only plausible stadium Kasarani for a one year renovation exercise.

At least we should have accorded the team the much respect they deserved as a country and showed them the true African spirit, as a result of our actions this are the consequences we get. We allowed a superb moment pass us by and now Tanzania’s Taifa Stars have a date with the Samba Boys. Hongera, twawatakia kila la heri ndugu zetu wa Afrika Mashariki.