OJUANG: Calendar shift will help Kenyan game


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We’ve been dispatching “boring” deliveries on this forum about the need to align our country’s football calendar with the rest of the world.

And we shall continue to do so.

Because what we consider as very important is the welfare of our players.

It was a bad feeling watching Harambee Stars’ coach Stanley Okumbi’s select team playing in Spain with some division two club and being hammered 4-0 recently! That really hurt.

It showed how little progress our game has made compared to global standards.

Well, some may say that it was not the national team that played in the SportPesa sponsored matches against Cordoba and Sevilla, but we must admit that they were mostly our national team boys.

One may wonder why mix that debacle with the calendar issue, but it ties in too snugly to be ignored.

The Confederation of African Football (Caf) recently bowed to pressure and changed their Africa Cup of Nations calendar, seeking to move the finals from January-February to June-July in tandem with global fixtures.

The advantages have already been explored and the new Caf administration team applauded for the great move.

The only fear we now have is that in June-July, the Kenyan football league is usually in its climax.

Forget the fact that we seldom qualify for the Nations Cup. Caf has also increased the number of Nations Cup finalists from 16 to 24.

Our mature expectation is that this should open the doors for Kenya to qualify for the continental finals after having last made the cut 13 long years back in 2004!

There should be no further excuses as fans shall also settle for nothing short of that coveted finals ticket.

Now, the calendar spoils the broth in this ways. Other countries have aligned themselves with the August-May league season and, subsequently, their national teams continue to take advantage and spend more time to gel and form formidable outfits.

They come into continental competitions with strong, well-prepared squads.

In Kenya, with the calendar “non-compliant”, the national team will continue to suffer lack of player availability, often putting up with tired legs and players “boasting” a meagre daily allowance of Sh750 which not only leaves them demoralized, but unsettled too.

We shall offer no solutions here, but point out the logic that may help, big-time, in the future.

Changing the calendar is not an easy task. But if it means staggering the league or stopping it for a season, so be it! We must move with the times to improve our performance!

rn rn

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