When news spread that the Kenya-Stockholm football team thwacked the Cameroonians 7-0, one could easily be misled to think that the Kenyans had an easy time in a crucial match that was largely seen as a “make or break” encounter for the Kenyans. In fact, the possibility that the Kenyans had a walkover could creep into the mind because a thwack of 7-0 could send the signal that the Cameroonians were a totally hopeless team. This was not the case because the game was as tough as it was challenging.
When they got into the field, a keen observer could realize that the Kenyans had changed tact from their previous games as they hurried to corner the Cameroonians on half field with occasional threatening shots fired in the direction of the Cameroonian goal-keeper who was nevertheless very good. In retrospect, the Cameroonians appeared to have been good on paper.
During the opening stages, the Kenyans avoided spreading themselves out too much, a strategy that could have given the Cameroonians an opportunity to play their usual “carpet game” that is based on long but accurate passes known to exhaust the opponent.
What the Kenyans did was that they compressed the Cameroonians into a small space and before the West Africans could begin to understand what was happening, the Kenyans scored their first goal within the first 15 minutes. This did not however seem to have demoralized the Cameroonians.
Honestly, the Cameroonians are very gigantic people, muscular and intimidating to say the least. From an aesthetic point of view, they appeared to have been the better side but when the youthful Kenyans surprised them by fixing the first goal, those who benefitted most were the Kenyan fans who were cheering constantly. The Kidum Nyama choma at Tanto Park coincided with the match and so the Kenyan fans did not form a big crowd. What was evident was that the small crowd took advantage of the lack of a corresponding Cameroonian crowd to literally take over the shouting match at the touch lines.
The Kenyans know that West Africans (especially Nigerians) tend to end their sentences with the word “Ooh!” so the fans simply decided to put this word to good use.
“Referee-ooh, that is a penalty-ooh”, a fan would shout. “That is a handball-ooh”; “That is unfair-ooh”; “corner-ooh” were some of the combinations that rent the air. When a Kenyan player went down, it was like “Brodda, what are you doing-ooh”; “Take it easy-ooh”.
The cheer-leaders, commanded by DJ Daddie and assisted by DJ Jimmy, composed well-thought out choruses that were picked up by the rest of the small crowd – Marky, Ofore, Mary, Easther, Paul, Man Njoro etal. When a new Kenyan fan arrived, the song changed to “Moto imewaka leo… tuimbe hallelujah Johny ame fika”.
At the “shouting match” level, the Cameroonians were beaten long before they were thrashed in the field and the scene was very excitng. The Kenya cheering team gave the players a lot of morale and five minutes before half time, the Kenyans slotted in the second goal that was greeted with even more chants of “Kenya!… Kenya…!”.
Sealing the fate of the Cameroonians
It was during half time that Coach Makan Macharia perfected the strategy that saw the Cameroonians demoralized before being thwacked. Eight minutes into second half, the ball hit the back of the net, increasing the confidence of the Kenyans as the Cameroonians began to understand that they were losing the game. At one point, the Cameroonians got a penalty kick, raising hopes that they would reduce the goal margin but these hopes came to naught when their sharp-shooter missed the target.
The Referee was very fair because when it was the turn of the Kenyans to get their “penalty share” he quickly awarded it. For the Kenyan team, there was no effort in converting the kick into a goal and at this point, it was impossible to imagine that the Cameroonians could pull a surprise by scoring four goals to turn things around.
During the second half, the goals were coming in at short intervals and after the fifth goal, Kenyan fans began to claim that they had “lost count”. They began to shout, asking themselves how many goals had been scored while other fans entered into a mock conflict about the real number of goals. The last two goals simply sealed the fate of the Cameroonians who went home humiliated by the mighty Kenya-Stockholm’s Harambee Stars.
In summary, goal-getters for the Kenyans were: Richard Omollo, striker of Märsta FC (2 goals), Bryan Otieno (2 goals), striker Isaack Njoroge (1 goal), striker Rama Khadir (1 goal) and defender Byron Gao (1 goal).
It was a sweet revenge for the Kenyans who had been thwacked 7-0 by the Tanzanians last Saturday. The Kenyans are now in the semi-finals scheduled for Saturday, time when the finals will also be played before the tournament’s winners can be known. If they adopt a similar aggressive approach based on going for goals, the 2011 Africa Challenge Cup could be within the grasp of the Kenyans who could as well creat upsets by scooping the Cup for the first time. Much awaits to be seen.