Football is a team sport, so we are always reminded. You win lose or draw as a team. In other words, the whole is better than the sum of its parts.
But sometimes, individual brilliance creeps in and we hear of players who haul their team from the precinct of defeat and charter them to the Holy waters of victory.
Unfortunately, for Harambee Stars, the Kenya national team, they have lacked that type of player for years. You know the Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, or close home, the Andre Ayew type. The one who is capable to take the game by the scruff of it’s neck and deliver victory almost singlehandedly. The one who makes things happen.
Against Zambia on Sunday, Kenya needed such a player. But while the likes of Michael Olunga and Ayub Timbe showed promise (see our Player Ratings here), they didn’t quite reach the finish pinnacle.
It meant that Stars had to work as a team, the preferred way of playing football. You cover your teammate and they do the same, one blade if grass at a time.
So they did early on.
Were injury the beginning of the end
But midway day into the first half, Paul Were, until then one of the most dangerous players on the pitch, was forced out with an injury.
It was a huge blow for Kenya but it shouldn’t have been as disastrous as it ended up being. Noah Wafula was called in to TRY provide as much support.
You could see the fans were not so sure about the move from Bobby Williamson. But like a good fan, the boss and his midfielder were given the benefit of doubt.
It ended up being a bad mess as, with all due respect and in all honesty, there wasn’t a worse player on the pitch than Wafula for the rest of the game.
Wafula looked nervous while in possession, not knowing whether to cross, hold the ball up, pass or bomb forward.
Not what the patient ordered
It was like a patient had ordered for a healthy diet but received burger, chips (both with cheese toppings) and soda.
An absolute mess.
He should have been substituted had Williamson have that option. But he didn’t.
And so despite his poor show, Wafula lasted for well over an hour.
The options Williams had
That situation should have been avoided had Williamson got his 18-man squad right. In his substitutes’ bench, Williamson didn’t have a natural wideman, an amalgam of speed, the purest and most obvious characteristic of a modern day winger.
You need to put trust in young players for such duties. Danson Kago was dropped, Eric Johanna too, Kevin Kimani didn’t even make it to the thirty-something list, to name but a few.
Johanna has not been as effective lately but neither has Wafula. Whatever the reason Kago didn’t get a nod is a mystery. Kimani, like Ali Abondo, has suffered a dip in form since both lost penalties against Ethiopia but the Tusker man can cross the ball.
Why not Were
Nevertheless, Jesse Were should have been a better option as he has a more killer instinct. His introduction could have pushed Oliech wide, allowing the former Auxerre man to use his pace on either flanks as he looked to be doing early in the game.
But no, Williamson knows better. So we leave it to him to make decisions, no matter how retrogressive they are.
Up next, Equatorial Guinea come visiting for a friendly, then it’s Guinea-Bissau in the third Group E match.
We only hope that Williamson will get it right, for once.
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