For a lengthy time, foreign-based clubs have produced the lion’s share of African players who are summoned for high-profile events such as the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
Indeed, the school of thought was that clubs in Europe were better equipped as compared to those in Africa, hence the disparity of the two in terms of players input in the national teams.
The story of AFCON, Africa’s prime football event, missing out players who turn out for local clubs goes back more than we can remember despite the fact that talent is bursting at its seams.
But dynamics have now changed and coaches, both expatriate and local, have begun to acknowledge such talent, if the composition of teams in the upcoming 2019 AFCON in Egypt is anything to go by.
Among the clubs that is lighting the way in the continental event are Kenyan champions Gor Mahia, who have produced three players in the national team, Harambee Stars, including eccentric midfielder Francis Kahata, Joash Onyango and Philemon Otieno.
Harambee Stars selectors had earlier on given a chance to Gor’s George “Blackberry” Odhiambo and Haroun Shakava which gives credence that local clubs are growing in stature and that their players are good enough to feature for the national team.
Another K’Ogalo star, Francis Mustafa, was summoned by Burundi coach Oliver Niyungeko to do duty for Intamba Murugamba in AFCON, so are Sofapaka goalkeeper Justine Ndikumana and defender Moussa Omar.
Sofapaka, popularly known as Batoto Ba Mungu, can also take more pride in that their fast-rising striker John Avire and evergreen defensive midfielder Dennis Odhiamabo are also in the Cairo-bound Harambee Stars squad.