- The Posta Ranger Tactician and 1992 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) defender Sammy “Pamzo” Omollo believes Harambee Stars have been undone by their poor junior structures and should look west for guidance.
He said that Kenya can learn from Nigeria and Ivory Coast in as far as youth development is concerned. The two West African Nations have sound structures in which their players gel together for a very long time when young before graduating to the national team.
“Ivory Coast and Nigeria have always produced the majority of its national players from their youth system,” Omollo said.
“Each time you will get at least six or so players in the national team who were at the youth level together. Salomon Kalou and his generation, apart from the fact the majority were in Europe playing for big teams, they were together at Asec Mimosas Academy,” Omollo Explained.
He reflects his time in 1992 when the Kenya U21 team seamlessly joined the national team enabling a smooth transition as senior players exited the stage after the AFCON finals in Senegal. Afterward, Dennis Oleich and his generation came. Since then Kenya is yet to develop another great team.
“Those proper structures are the things we are lacking. In our U21 team, six to eight players were there together for a very long time. These are the things we should have. When we exited the stage (Youth academy), we completely lost the direction. And we are yet to pick,” he added.
Although Omollo sounded political, he explained that when they (coaches) are doing scouting for the youth team, which is the foundation for assembling our teams, clubs and national teams, they do it hurriedly without considering the merits. How Kenya’s junior team is being selected currently could be biased thus derailing its development.
He (Omollo) believes once Kenya gets its youth structures right, it will always be simple organizing Harambee Stars whenever they are about to participate in an event. He said that the need to go for camping is getting players to gel but if they had been together for long, naturally the gelling process is easily achieved.
“If six or seven players have been together for long, then there is no need to gel at all. That is the biggest mistake we are doing” Pamzo concluded.