Henry Nyabuto Motego is a man who rekindles sweet memories in the minds of many a Kenyan football fan.
Born on May 21, 1964 in Gucha District, Kisii County, there is no doubt that the former Kenya Breweries Limited (currently Tusker FC) and Shabana FC lethal striker makes it in the top list of the best attacking talents the country has ever produced.
Motego, better known as ‘The Elephant’ while studying at Iterio Secondary School, rose against all odds – inspired by his abilities – to stick his name among the best footballers ever to emerge from the Abagusii community and bring glory to the nation.
Now working as a coach for the Kisii County football team, Motego believes the level of football in the country has plummeted compared to the yester-years when he graced the pitch.
“The standard of football in Kenya has gone so low compared to our days, most of these players lack commitment on the pitch, they play football because of money,” he said regrettably.
“Second, they lack discipline, and that has been brought by the fame they get on TV, radio , newspapers and the internet. Money, lack of discipline, and commitment and fame, is a cocktail of mediocrity in a player’s life that never happened in our days,” he said while rolling back the clock on the golden years gone by.
As to how to improve the standards of football, Montego offers some thoughts.
“Not all the talent is found in the city, Kenyan clubs need to do proper scouting across the country from school games to the village competitions. It’s sad that most of the clubs rely on the talent based in town academies.
“School games and local youth tournaments provide a huge opportunity to scout real talent. Every country that is a football powerhouse always has proper youth structures that are the feeder to the senior team and it’s a shame that in Kenya it’s the same players that we see,” he added.
Henry Motego’s exploits against Tunisia in 1992 saw Kenya knock out the North African giants in qualifying rounds to sail through to the African Cup of Nations after a long spell in the cold.
After waiting in the cold for 15 years, Harambee Stars qualified for this year’s continental show piece to be held in Egypt.
Having represented the country in 1992 Afcon finals, Motego knows the importance of the tournament to Kenyan football.
“It’s the best thing that has happened to Kenyan football for the past 15 years, this is an opportunity for our players to show case their talent to the whole world.
“It’s even bigger because four teams from the region have qualified so the scouts all over the world will be paying attention to the players from east Africa.
“For Kenya to succeed they need support from the government, cooperates, and the fans. It’s a collective responsibility,” he added.
With Shabana having been promoted to the National Super League, their former striker knows the pressure on Gilbert Selebwa side to get back to the Kenyan Premier League.
“All they are expecting form him is for Shabana to return in the KPL. Fans want to see the top Kenyan side playing at Gusii Stadium against their own; so it’s a collective effort that has to come from the coach and the players,” insisted the former striker.
Name: Henry Motego
DOB: May 21, 1964
Former teams: Tusker/Harambee Stars
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