01 May, 09:47
A sweetly struck curling free kick into the top left corner of the post and just before my dropped jaw regained its original position, another sublime net busting hit which I dare say was too good for any goalkeeper in the world to keep out. At the middle of the park was a technically gifted midfield maestro in the making.
Running rings around opponents, increasing and reducing the pace of the game as circumstances dictated, supporting strikers by giving defence splitting passes and occasionally falling back to help the defence. To say the least, he was a marvel to watch for lack of a better word.
One can be forgiven to think that I am trying to relive the good old David Beckham-Paul Scholes days at the Theatre of Dreams. In fact this is a match I had the unique privilege of watching without having to part with a penny and the players described are FISA Academy’s Robert Onyango who managed to slot in two sublime free kicks to help his side beat Emmerdale FC three goals to one and my favorite NPL midfielder Kevin Kwasa whose excellent ball control, ability to receive the ball under pressure, retain possession and pass accurately to keep the game flowing left many including Mick Weche (I believe) yearning for more.
Having attended quite a number of Nairobi Provincial League games, I can attest to the fact that the performance displayed by these two talent hubs on Saturday was not a mere fluky purple patch. The poor state of playing grounds where most of the games are staged notwithstanding, these games are usually very entertaining since the players are motivated by factors such as desire to achieve and love for the game as opposed to money.
It is a proven fact that unless you are an extra-terrestrial biological entity from some unknown galaxy, you love free things. There is no better way to show this human attribute than attending such games and in the process helping grow the game. All you have to pay is about two hours of your weekend time which is not too much to ask considering the fact that you will get value for every minute you spend at the grounds. In addition, you will have the unique opportunity of seeing and possibly making friends with these stars before they blow big which is not a bad incentive after all. Imagine watching another Patrick Oboya as a Young Spiders player, Paul Were as a Mukuru Sports Association player before professionalism and the big stage forces them to drop some of their fancy foot work. EPIC
Most corporates look at sponsoring teams as a marketing tool and often aim at achieving a stronger brand image, grab a new market share, improve relations with existing customers and increase sales. Saying that clubs in the lower leagues have the capacity to attract sponsorships would be tantamount to burying our heads in the sand. Consequently, criticizing companies for not sponsoring these teams would be a little unfair since most of them are in business to make profits and have objectives to meet and if a sponsorship deal does not contribute to this, they really have no business getting themselves into it.
Since these teams need financing nonetheless, its high time players who passed through them came back and offered some financial assistance. I would also love to see a team like Gor Mahia taking up a lower league side lets say Jericho Allstars, giving them the necessary financial and technical support for the good of the game.