When you think of the beautiful game, it’s hard not to picture that distinctive yellow jersey. And I’m not talking about Miwani F.C., it’s the Samba Boys.
Brazilian teams are traditionally a benchmark for how football should be played. They have a cache of players few others can match. They gave us arguably the greatest footballer of all time in Pele. Sublime footballers like Socrates, Zico, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Neymar are a testament to Brazil’s famous conveyor belt of talent. So it is only understandable for Kogalo fans to be excited about the signing of the Brazilian player, Wilson Silva Fonseca from Fortaleza F.C.
During his unveiling, Wilson showed what is in store with his trademark celebration of samba dance. And Gor Mahia fans will be hoping he plays as well as he dances. Because a brutal memory still lingers among the green faithful considering the catastrophic signing of their last South American import, Giovanni Rodriguez.
Armed with the video footage of a football match from the Indonesian league, his agent claimed to have a Brazilian player ‘who was eager to join the Kenya Premier League as soon as possible.’ Fans were delirious because they genuinely believed ‘Omondinho’s’ signing was a statement of intent and would blow the competition into the middle of last week.
Gor Mahia deputy Secretary General, Ronald Ngala, termed the player (Giovanni Rodriguez) in the video as ‘very fast and skillful.’ “He could go past players with little ease just like Paul Were.” They eventually gave him a lucrative two-year contract earning an impressive Shs 150,000 per month.
“I will (Giovanni) definitely prove myself soon. Many will ask why a Brazilian should come to Kenya to play football, it’s interesting yes, but I love Africa and I love Kenya.” Well, he loved our wildlife because he turned out to be just another tourist. And in a country where you can fly planes without proper certification, a tourist can also become a footballer.
“After watching the player, it is our opinion as the technical bench that he will not fit in our system,” said the then coach, Zdravko Logarusic. “As a striker he is useless. He misses easy chances in training, he couldn’t hit the ocean from a boat, he added.” Okay he didn’t actually say that but I guess that’s what he meant when he diplomatically termed the player as ‘surplus to requirements.’ A decision which was vindicated because Kogalo later went on to win the title.
This story of signing players based on YouTube clips remains ridiculous, no matter how many times you hear it, and it is indicative of how some of the country’s biggest football club is still being run with the professionalism and rigor of your local mtaani team. With Wilson Silva, only time will tell.