NAIROBI, Kenya, June 11- Harambee Stars head coach, Adel Amrouche is sculpturing a reputation as someone who has the nerve of steel and he is at crosshairs again after his squad were driven in a ‘sub-standard’ bus on arrival to Malawi.
Unfortunately this time, he has aimed his smoking guns towards the wrong target as he prepares his team to face The Flames in their 2014 World Cup qualifier on Wednesday.
Did the good coach expect hosts, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) to roll out ultra-modern buses of the Modern Coast, Coast Air, Spanish or Mash Cool ilk?
Assuming they boarded a local version of the monstrosities that were the Kenya Bus Service contraptions of old that plied various Nairobi routes chocking the population in their wake, the tactician out to have laid the blame on the right door step.
No one else is to blame apart from Football Kenya Federation (FKF) for the latest debacle involving the reception of the team, barely two months since Stars were humiliated in Nigeria, sparking an online war between citizens of both nations.
On this occasion, Amrouche complained his team were made to travel five hours in a ‘sub-standard’ bus since the Kenya Airways flight they took to Lilongwe does not connect to Blantyre.
A FAM official countered he had forewarned FKF mandarins on the same but apparently they did not listen.
How could they and there was a match that generated close to Sh9m in gate collections going on back home that required their ‘attention’ and that is only what was declared.
Some of the officials who would have formed an advance party to Malawi were busy printing replica jerseys for sale during the Nigeria tie Capital Sport can confirm.
Two (names withheld) of them were locked at a Nairobi hotel ironing out the details of shipping in the kit with one, a regional representative close to federation president, Sam Nyamweya, directly in charge of logistical planning for the team.
Contrast this to the Super Eagles. When they arrived in the early hours of last Tuesday, they declined all arrangements FKF had in store, including water, security, transport and accommodation in favour of what they had planned beforehand.
After a stand-off at the airport, they were allowed to proceed on at their own terms.
Upon arriving at the Moi International Sport Centre, Kasarani for training later in the day, the bus they had hired (name of the firm withheld) disappeared on them ‘to fuel’ and Nigerian officials, led by head coach Stephen Keshi, made quick alternative arrangements.
A SuperSport van, police chase car, the Nigerian High Commissioners convoy and two private vehicles were scrambled to ferry the team back to the hotel and it was a sight to behold to witness multi-millionaire players such as Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel squeeze at the trunk of a car.
Unlike Amrouche, Keshi did not even raise one word on the runaway bus as he kept his team motivated for the result that they duly achieved by stuffing Stars 1-0 at their backyard.
In the past camaraderie between nations was evident therefore, cases of visiting sides being humiliated were rare but nowadays, the stakes in world football are so high that part of the psychological warfare involves giving the away side a nightmarish reception if only to knock them off their stride.
But busybodies at FKF are failing to move with the times as they scramble to sate their self interest at the expense of the team. As the custodians of football in the country, they should be at the forefront of advising the Government of what to expect whenever our team is away.
From former head coach, Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee settling the team’s bills with his credit card when the team visited Cape Verde in the mid 2000s to the recent Calabar debacle, it beggars belief that we are still crying WOLF!