Kenya has not been in the African Cup of Nations since 2004 when they qualified and played in Tanzania. In 15 years since then, not once has Kenya managed to qualify. This has been quite a problem to many of the fans of football within the country. Man has even lost hope over these few years that Kenya will ever be back in the Cup of nations again, even despite the fact that Kenya has one of the most developed football infrastructures on the continent. Yet, even the mightytips predictions had a hard time saying that Kenya was going to make it into the African Cup of Nations this time around. With the team finally making the qualification round and the games starting in less than a month, it might be interesting to consider what the similarities between the last time the Kenyan team was in the championship and now are. And the similarities number in more than one, which is why we should be considering them. After all, it might be one of the roadmaps to keeping Kenya in the cup in the coming years, and it might be a good experience to have analyzed when trying to achieve success in said championship.
When, in 2004, Kenya participated in the Africa Cup of Nations, it had one thing that it had not had for a long time – financing dedicated specifically to the preparations to the cup. While Kenya has been developing its league well, the success of the players within the league has not been translating into success within the cup. It takes more preparation and more analysis of strategies used by other teams in the cup of nations than it takes when playing the familiar Kenyan teams. It also requires the players to have accommodations and comfort in their travel that would allow them to be able to recuperate after each game. Such financing would also allow the team members to be able to take the time in order to train for the games, instead of having to combine the time they take to do so with the time they spend covering other responsibilities of theirs.
Such financing also allows for the hiring of more qualified coaches, those who will dedicate time and effort to the team which will allow them to get better at what they do. In-depth analysis of the strategies, abilities and other aspects of the players’ games comes at a cost in money and time and requires high financing in order to be completed appropriately.
Something else that seems to be similar between the two times that Kenya qualified for the championship (2019 and 2004) is the fact that the players will be getting a chance to train abroad. IN 2004, the Kenyan team traveled to England to face off in a friendly game against the Egnlish team. This allowed them to understand some advanced techniques in terms of football that they were then able to utilize and be prepared against in the cup of nations. This time around the Kenyan team will be traveling to France for a three-week training camp right before they get to face off against the other teams in Africa. While this decision might have been criticized by the previous director of the Football Federation, it might be just the thing the team needs in order to perform at the top level that the local fans expect them to.
These are two of the most striking similarities between 2004 and 2019, but there are more, deeper and more analytically demanding similarities that could be discussed in a more long-form article at a later date. For now, let us just wish luck to the Kenyan team.