Mieno urges overhaul to elevate Kenyan football

Mieno urges overhaul to elevate Kenyan football
KPL All Stars vs Hull City Select XI. PHOTO/Mike Okinyi

Tusker FC Vice-captain Humphrey Mieno warned their needs to be a radical overhaul of the Kenyan football structures in order to give the next generation a chance against European opponents in future.

Mieno who scored the lone goal as Kenyan Premier League (KPL) All Stars went down 2-1 against a youthful Hull City select side, acknowledged local football and the English game are worlds apart as he called for an urgent rethink of the Kenyan system.

The KPL All Stars’ physical superiority was downright thwarted by Hull’s technical edge and a smooth organization that exposed the gulf in class between the two sides.

“We are far, far indeed from reaching anywhere near those standards. It will take a generation keen on incredible revival to take us to such level,” Mieno told Citizen Digital on Thursday when he visited Royal Media Services premises.

According to the midfielder, the difference in the size of corporate and national investment pumped into the sport in Kenya and European countries betrays the local football as an inferior game.

“It is unfortunate some African countries have not fully appreciated football as a business. Most people are still living in the past that the sport is for mere entertainment and socialization only, hence cannot invest much into it.

“The heavy investment English clubs have tells you the seriousness they take football with. Hull City is not among the best clubs there but the organization of the team is just incredible,” he underscored.

The former Azam FC player compared the Under-19 team they played against Kenya’s corresponding youth team, likening the two to heavens and earth in terms of quality.

“I wouldn’t completely rule out our boys because anything can happen in football, but I think it would have been a disgraceful day for them had they played those lads.

“You could see they had proper understanding of football, to depths that some of our players in the junior team have not been exposed to. These are players who started professional training at very tender ages, while some of us were exposed to basic training at well advanced ages,” the soft spoken player offered.

Despite scoring a stunner, easily the goal of the night, Mieno barely celebrated his long ranger as that later turned out to be only a consolation goal.

“It was a special moment but I was not too enthusiastic about it because the goal came late and we were down by two. I knew we had lost so I could not celebrate as a person who scores in a winning situation.

“I could hear the local fans at Hull cheering wildly after the goal though, which was good for us. At least they appreciated us,” he said.

He added that apart from adjusting to the extremely cold weather, stage fright took a toll on the team’s performance.

“The way the ball rolled on that turf was not usual, it was quite fast. You must have noticed there were many incomplete passes, which you can blame on that. Some players were affected by the big stage so they took more time than usual to settle, especially in the first half. I think it will be equally difficult for them when they come for the return match in Nairobi,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mieno also sprung to the defence of the under-fire All Stars and national team First Coach Stanley Okumbi who has faced intense criticism over his team selection.

“Some sentiments aired by different critics are right but in the wrong context. That was not Kenya’s national team, neither was Okumbi given a free hand to select the initial squad.

“Without concentrating on who played or who should have played, the truth is the match was a good and a lot was learnt,” he charged.

Okumbi is still in the UK, and was scheduled to attend London-based Tottenham Hotspurs training where Harambee Stars Captain Victor Wanyama features.

At 27, Mieno believes he has a long way to go in his career, saying the greatest moment in his career has yet to come.

“The goal at Hull was not everything; it will remain in history book but much more exciting milestones can be achieved,” he said.

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Story By Jacob Icia
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