Popular Posts

Monday, March 28, 2011

Top 5 Things We Learnt from Kenya Versus Angola Match

For the first time in many months, Kenyans finally had something to smile and cheer about, thanks to Macdonald Mariga's thunderous winning goal against Angola that sent the whole country into a frenzy and raised the national team's chances of qualifying for 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.

But what are the Top Five things we learnt from the encounter?

Origi is the best goalkeeper Kenya has to offer
Wilson Obungu, Willis Ochieng, Duncan Ochieng, Francis Ochieng, to name but a few, are some of the goalkeepers who have been called before to stand in between the posts for Kenya. And besides just bringing in some confusion on whether it was Willis or Wilson, Ochieng or the other Ochieng guarding the post the other day, none of them has managed to keep the goalkeeping position his own. But one man, Arnold Origi, is simply a class above them. At only 27-years, he is extremely young for a goal keeper (remember goalkeepers are like fine wine – they always get better with age). The Moss FK custodian can only get better. All he needs is a defensive line that wouldn’t make him get as involved as he did against Angola.

Mariga plays better with his brother Victor Mugabe on his side – but he’s got to grow up
Was that a rocket, a pildedriver, a belter, did he launch it, pummel it, drive it in? Who cares? Mariga’s goal was one of the best goals he will ever score. Were he some Wayne Rooney or Lionel Messi, the goal could have featured in Goal.com’s goal of the week section. But he is not. But just when did Mariga get into that rhythm and where did he amass that confidence? Tactics they call it. And for Mariga, it seems nothing works better for him than playing tiki-taka with his brother, Victor Mugabe. The introduction of the 19-year-old who plays for Belgian side K.F.C. Germinal Beerschot, gave Mariga and the whole team a lift. Of course kudos also to Jamal Mohammed whose goal gave Kenya a fighting chance, and fight they did.

But that aside, there is no justifiable explanation that can be given for any of Mariga’s two yellow cards. Nyayo stadium wasn’t as raucous as the Camp Nou where Robin Van Persie was yellow carded for kicking the ball after the whistle had gone. And the second one. Alright, he was euphoric after thundering in the winner. But didn’t he know that he was already on a yellow card, and two, removing your shirt while celebrating is against the laws of football. He should have known better.

Dennis Oliech is a great captain
Okay. I know this raises some eyebrows already especially from the Mariga quarters. There’s no doubt that Oliech commands respect from the team members. After all, the former Dagoretti Santos player has been playing in Europe for the past 6 years, while most of his teammates are yet to break the ranks. The only problem of course lies on his and Mariga’s ego. Granted, Mariga is a Champions League and Serie A winner and plies his trade with one of the best European teams of all time. However, credit should not be taken away from Oliech who always seems to inspire those players around him. If Kenya qualifies for the Africa Cup of Nations, I know plaudits for the team will come from far and wide, but even more will be reserved for Oliech and Coach Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno – if he lasts.

Kenya’s problem is in defence
It is so obvious that, especially in the first 20 minutes, Kenya looked rattled from the defence (minus Mr. Reliable Origi) through the midfield and into the three-man striking force. But as the game wore on, it always looked likely that the Harambee Stars will concede the next goal from a defensive mistake rather than a midfielder easily giving the ball away like one Robert Mambo did in a game with Tunisia. The other thing I kept on wondering was whether Tusker’s Joseph Shikokoti  and Sofapaka’s Edgar Ochieng are only tall on TV while in real life, they are shorter than Pingping – the deceased world’s shortest man.

The Angolans, led by Manucho won the aerial battle in countless times while the few that the Kenyan defence won were only cleared to the feet of the opponents. And it seems someone told Shikokoti that the more backpasses you give to your goalkeeper, the higher your chances of earning a call from one of those European teams – to play conference football. Football starts from the defence. The goalkeeper must always feel pretty comfortable with the men meant to protect him. I don’t think Origi feels that way after the game.

We have a new jersey, and Mariga's goal deserves another look
This deserves mention. I have never seen Harambee stars jersey look that good. As they say in Swahili, "kizuri chajiuza, kibaya chajitembeza" (a good thing sells itself, a bad one advertises itself). So I will not sell it to you. All I know is am already looking for it.

And of Mariga's goal, what can you possibly write about it. Just see it below and leave your comments.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!