Football is a game that is played with intensity and passion. If an opponent determines how hard you are going to play, then you are in the wrong sport; Alvin Smith.
That is football for me, it is more than just a sport.
I remember in the High School I went to, the football players did not take a shower 48 hours prior to a game. If it was against the local rivals, they would stay like that for a week.
It was not a fancy thing to put on the school team jersey for them, it was not just a hobby.
They killed for it.
Did funny things
Our football pitch was a respected ground, a sort of holy grail.
Crossing the pitch unless you were in playing kit was a sin, punishable with death by mob justice.
Even the principle himself knew he would face the music if he dared even step on the pitch. It was a crime.
The result of the shenanigans I have just mentioned was that we won the local schools league over and over again. We had the bragging rights for years and to date, I hear the trend has not changed.
For the record, we were not at the national school level. We were never talented, but the amount of passion the players put in the game ensured we remained relevant in our region, however small it was.
KPL is lacking
When you watch the Kenyan Premier League, that is exactly what is lacking.. Passion.
Unless it is Gor Mahia or AFC Leopards, the rest of the league looks as if they would rather be in some other career.
Outside those two, watching any other game, especially on television is a real pain.
The lack of quality in the play is bare for all to see, but what hurts is that there is no real fight. The game lacks that ingredient to excel.
At times, what matters is trying and trying hard. If so, it makes up for the lack of anything exciting.
As a player, I rate Lionel Messi really highly.
His skill level is top notch, his goals a joy to watch and his all-round football is fantastic.
What makes me rate him though, is his passion for the game. he lives, breathes and eats football. He rarely goes out to party and I hear, kicks the ball all over his house like he is in the training ground.
That is what has him where he is. Passion comes first, then the others later.
Not here in Kenya though, it is the opposite.
I asked a friend who knows the game better than I about the state of Kenyan football and he said the main issue is the lack of community clubs.
Only around five clubs in the league are what you can classify as community clubs.
The rest are full of players who collect pay cheques at the end of the month. They are in school or work, busy thinking about other things while on the pitch.
Unless we lift that barrier, our game will always look like something we can do without, like something that is nagging and a waste of our time.
Considering the passion I saw when in high School, I understand where he is coming from.