The whole world right now is watching some of the biggest giants in the world of football across Europe and elsewhere battling it out at the AFCON tournament in Côte d’Ivoire and it is football at its best in what is the World Cup of our continent.
So far the greatest goal at AFCON was by Deon Hotto of Namibia when they stunned Tunisia with 1-0 win with an astonishing first-class header.
I was talking to my nephews here who love football and they were asking if Namibia can be so good why can’t Kenya make it to AFCON?
They are happy though that in the next AFCON Kenya is part host and will have their team in there and play a few games at home.
And how about tiny Cape Verde being the first team in the AFCON games to reach the round of 16 which is a playoff level?
They contesting in one of the groups with AFCON super teams namely Egypt and Ghana. At this point, both of those teams will be fighting for who gets the second spot. Oh, the miracles of African football.
My beloved Senegal has also qualified for the round of 16 as they make a very good start to keep their AFCON championship they won in a hard fight against Egypt in the finals in 2020.s
The story that captured my imagination in football is of course Franz Beckenbauer, the German football legend who passed away this month.
In the 1970’s when we were just village boys chasing goats and chicken in the bushes that guy was building football in Germany at every level. By the time we went to Nairobi University in the 1980s and got crazy about football, the German Bundesliga teams were the games we wanted to watch.
We were grown-ups then and two of us were on campus. So we came home to my aunt’s house where we lived most of the time and all the boys want to watch German football on Saturday morning.
My aunt had rules specifically for her elder son and me who as college students thought we were adults and could do whatever we wanted. Not with my aunt. If you wake up and turn the TV on, she is coming from her bed upstairs and turning off the TV and you are going back to your bed until you learn some manners.
The other thing my aunt told the two of us college boys is that you cannot come to the house later than 9.00 P.M. If you do that, the gate is locked and she is not coming to open it. Sometimes, we climb the fence and got in and then you have to knock on the door and you know who is coming to open it. She didn’t even have to say a word to let you know how foolish you are.
Even when we turned 24 years of age in our third year at college and about to graduate, she told us as long as we live in her house we would follow her rules. It was not even a democracy but we loved that mother of ours. The food cooked with precision was out of this world.
In our household at South B, we were five boys and her only daughter. And at food time everybody has to be sitting at the table. You can’t just grab food and eat and run out of the house. We were all at the table to eat some amazing food.
And our aunt was a nurse at Railway Health Centre in South B and her work discipline was exceptional so we had to shut up and learn from her.
My aunt told us that her daughter would not do anything for us at home. Everybody has to clean their plates. Everybody has to wash their clothes and it is the Jua Kali washing where you run the water wash your clothes by hand with a bar of soap and dry them.
Then when it came to the Bundesliga we had to talk to her and tell her we really needed to watch those games. She relented on a few conditions. No noise. Don’t put the TV volume too high. And then all the younger boys and they were a bunch would jump downstairs as soon as the games were on. We asked them why they had no guts to talk to our aunt about it and they told us that is our job. Those kids knew more about football than us.
As of now, Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena is preparing to bid a final farewell to Franz Beckenbauer as tens of thousands of people pay their respects to the German football legend.
The two legends meet for a friendly in Argentina.
Beckenbauer died on January 7 in the Austrian city of Salzburg aged 78 and was buried in Munich five days later at a service attended by close friends and family.
Thousands are expected to attend the ceremony, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Bavarian Premier Markus Soeder, and honorary Bayern president Uli Hoeness, who played alongside Beckenbauer in the 1960s and 1970s.
The football world will also be in attendance, including representatives from European giants Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Franz Beckenbauer known by his nickname de Kaiser (The Emperor) is considered one of the greatest football players of all time and is also one of the only three footballers to win the World Cup both as a player and manager.