Your uniforms gold and blue, your hearts brave!

Wednesday July 10 2019

Kenya's defender Abud Omar Sfantu (left) fights for the ball with Tanzania's forward Thomas Ulimwengu during their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations match at the Stadium in Cairo on June 27, 2019. PHOTO | KHALED DESOUKI |

Kenya's defender Abud Omar Sfantu (left) fights for the ball with Tanzania's forward Thomas Ulimwengu during their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations match at the Stadium in Cairo on June 27, 2019. PHOTO | KHALED DESOUKI |  AFP

ELSIE EYAKUZE
By ELSIE EYAKUZE
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Somebody’s trying to start some trouble between Kenya and Tanzania and they had better stop it.

I won’t take any malicious mischief on the part of vandals who are trying to bring discord to this our East African House. It is our prerogative to tease each other, that’s what friends do, but that’s where it ends. Teasing.

The usual ribbing between siblings during Afcon is fine, but the politicisation of the match between my own beloved Taifa Stars and Kenya’s Harambee Stars was unworthy.

There were underlying issues stirred up by extremely ill thought out statements by individuals on both sides of the border. I say: You’re grown men and women, try to act like it. Keep your neuroses in your own house.

I want to heartily congratulate the Kenyan team for their victory, it was a battle well fought during the second half after Tanzania had clearly goaded a great performance out of them by daring to finish the first half one goal ahead. Bravo. But the true Stars are indisputably my squad.

Over 30 years we haven’t even sniffed the possibilities of participating in Afcon and in 2019 we made it. We are Africans: Heroes must be sung home.

Come home my weary warriors, put down your dented shields. We’ll help you carry the broken swords, wipe blood shed on the fields. Your uniforms were gold and blue, your hearts were brave and strong and true, you carried hopes untold and managed to come through.

In a world obsessed with victory, few gracious foes remain. It takes much strength to lose a match yet retain dignity. To founder on the battlefield is just experience gained. You will live to fight another day, for we always try again.

The job of a national team is to unite a country in support of their warriors in these gladiator games that we stage to entertain ourselves.

Our duty as your supporters is to give you the unconditional love that confers special powers on a team. Winning is awesome, but I hope you know that we are here even when you lose. On a team and on an individual basis as you achieve your goals, remember that there are little girls and boys who are inspired by your struggles and your successes.

Forgive us for letting the politics get in the way of things. We let you down by sending you off in a manner most unhelpful for the psyche of the team. You don’t belong to the Grand Old Party, you belong to us always and are forever sons of the land.

They may give you support but they may not charge you with ludicrous requirements to “defend the country’s honour.”

That is their job and just because they are doing it badly doesn’t mean it is okay for them to try and outsource it. We voted them in to “do their jobs.” You, in contrast, have earned your places with true hard work. Keep it up.

Kenya isn’t going anywhere: We shall meet them and our fellow Africans again and again and we shall learn and we shall grow and we shall one day triumph.

Remember: A mob of lions might bring down a giraffe, but it only takes one blow of a giraffe’s hoof to cave a lion’s head in. Bide your time.

And lastly: It is the beautiful game, but it is just a game.

Elsie Eyakuze is a consultant and blogger for The Mikocheni Report.E-mail: [email protected]

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