'Abandon that ugali type of football' - Akida on what ails Kenyan football as she reveals desire to join Manchester United

© Esse Akida (Twitter)

FOOTBALL 'Abandon that ugali type of football' - Akida on what ails Kenyan football as she reveals desire to join Manchester United

Joel Omotto 09:52 - 31.05.2023

The Harambee Starlets striker feels Kenyan football needs to evolve to harness full penitential of players.

Harambee Starlets striker Esse Akida feels Kenyan football needs to move from a more conservative and physical to an expansive approach to fully harness the technical ability of the players.

In an online question-and-answer session with fans on Tuesday, Akida enumerated numerous things ailing Kenyan football while calling on authorities to help correct them if the standards of the game are to be lifted.

Reacting to a fan who sought her opinion on which style best suits Kenyan football, Akida said: “This is a hard one but we should abandon that 'ugali type of football' (that’s how we called it back then).”

“I believe we have technically gifted players who can play current formations used by the best coaches in the world. We are too reserved in games.”

Akida’s comments come amid sentiments from a section of fans and coaches that Kenyan football has ‘not evolved’ due to the defensive approach employed, especially in the Football Kenya Federation Premier League, where most matches rarely witness three or more goals.

Akida’s diagnosis

She, however, feels it is a problem that needs to be sorted from the root by ensuring proper structures are in place in the lower leagues.

“Have a formidable top flight. Get corporates to run Division One and those lower leagues. Divide the lower tiers into zones to reduce cost,” she added. “Ensure each ward has a team in the county leagues, pick talents for junior teams from the counties.”

Starlets should always play

Akida, who won the league with Greek top-flight side PAOK this month, also expressed her disappointment at seeing Starlets locked out of the Olympic qualifiers.

“We shouldn’t be missing a tournament because of lack of funds, I believe they (authorities) are capable of sorting that deficit,” she said.

The former Thika Queens striker bagged 12 goals in the just-concluded season as PAOK won their 18th overall title, her first with the club, but her tally was 10 less than last season when she bagged the Golden Boot Award.

Man United dream

With the impressive numbers, the 30-year-old feels she still has much more to give and would jump at an opportunity to join Manchester United, who are beginning to become a force, after their formation just five years ago. United missed out on their maiden Women’s Super League title to Chelsea by just two points last weekend.

“Manchester United is on the ascendancy right now despite being one of the youngest teams in that league. So, yes, Manchester United,” she said, when asked which team she would love to play for in England.

No beef with national team

The forward also weighed in on her conspicuous absence from the national team, which some observers have said is down to her being vocal over Starlets’ unpaid allowances in the past.

“I didn’t say anything offensive, asking for money after work isn’t a sin,” Akida responded.

“I’m always ready to represent the nation. When I’m no called upon, I believe the coach has reasons for doing so. Maybe he had better players than me and I respect that.”