As the year 2018 that was no doubt full of activities in Kenyan football come to a close, we take a peek at the pros and cons which punctuated the game.
Admittedly, Harambee Stars qualification to the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) after a 15-year hiatus was the best thing to have happened to the most popular sport, having last graced the biannual event in 2004 in Tunisia.
However, Stars’ campaign to make it to Africa’s biggest football showcase started on a shaky note when they succumbed 1-2 to Sierra Leone in their Group F opener in Freetown and matters were not made any better for them when they settled for un-inspiring goalless with Ethiopia’s Walya Antelopes in the second fixture in Addis Ababa.
Despite the setback, the fighting spirit by Stars was discernible moving forward when they stunned Africa’s football powerhouse Black Stars of Ghana 1-0 in Nairobi before getting the better of Ethiopia 3-0 in the reverse fixture also played in Nairobi to lead the Group F standings.
Lady Luck would then continue smiling on Stars when Confederation of African Football (CAF) banned Sierra Leone over government interference of football and subsequently annulled the team’s results, leaving Kenya still leading followed by Ghana as the Leone Star and Walya miss the AFCON ticket.
Harambee Starlets also captured the eyes of Africa when they were expected to be one of those to be counted in the Africa Women’s Championships in 2018 in Ghana.
Unfortunately, Starlets were unceremoniously chucked out on a boardroom decision by CAF with Equatorial Guinea. Earlier on, Starlets had featured in the Cosafa Championships in Zimbabwe as guest teams and reaching the semi-finals where they lost to the hosts was yet another exploit worth noting.
Another plus is that FKF received the Fifa development programme award worth Sh 102 million shillings (1 million dollars) besides the fact that a total of six referees have acquired the CAF status since the new office took over the football leadership.
On the flip side, FKF has lately been in the news for all the wrong reasons after what is believed to be apathy directed at national team coaches.