Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
YOU have heard it before, local fans going on a social media drive rallying behind the country’s leading football commentators and writers, to throw their names into the hat every time the ZIFA elections are on the corner.
Charles “CNN’’ Mabika, the leading voice of domestic football, even hinted he would plunge into the battle, and fight for the ZIFA presidency, before pulling his name out.
But, while it has a romantic touch, the reality is that there is a huge difference between being an odds-on favourite, for the fans and other stakeholders, and getting the nod from the delegates who vote in the elections.
And, as shown during the elections for the Kenya Football Federation, in Nairobi, at the weekend, it’s not usually the one who appeals to the media who eventually wins.
Take, for instance, the case of Kenyan freelance journalist, Bonface Osano, whose declaration to run for the KFF presidency sparked huge interest, across the country, because of either his youthfulness or what he said he would bring on the table.
“(KFF president Nick) Mwendwa has done a commendable job in the past four years but I believe the time has come to bring significant and positive change in Kenyan football,’’ the 34-year-old Osano told journalists as he unveiled former Harambee Stars midfielder, Innocent Mutiso, as his running mate.
“And also to tell you that I am that change.”
But, as Osano found out at the polls at the weekend, there is a difference between what appeals to the media, and the possibly the fans, and what appeals to those who vote.
The freelance journalist did not even receive a single vote, in the poll for the presidency, which Mwenda won, in a landslide, after getting 77 of the 85 votes cast.
Lordvick Aduda was second, with just five votes while Herbert Mwachiro was third with just three votes.
Osano was left with a lot to ponder as even those, who had nominated him, chose to vote for the other candidates.
To his eternal credit, for a man who suffered such a demoralising defeat, he still retained his class to congratulate those who had won the poll.
“Ladies and gentlemen, my fellow Kenyan football stakeholders, I wish to thank all of you for the immense support during my campaigns as I bid to become Football Kenya Federation president,’’ he said on Twitter.
“The delegates have spoken and I respect their choice.
“I wish the president, Nick Mwendwa, all the best and assure him of my support as he develops the game. I will continue in my efforts to develop talent and wish to urge all stakeholders to turn a new page following the end of the electioneering period.’’
“I am very humbled for the overwhelming win we scooped as Team Blue,” he said.
The 41-year-old Mwenda extended the olive branch to those who had battled him for the presidency.
“I knew going into the elections that I will retain my seat but I didn’t know I will do it with such an emphatic style, I thank the delegates for giving me another mandate to lead them and I promise I will achieve my targets in the next four years,’’ he said.
“I also want to ask those who were competing against me, and even those who lost in various positions here today [Saturday] I am welcoming them to my side, let them come we work together, let us put our heads together to improve our football.
“I cannot do this on my own or with the team you have given me, I need everyone on board so we can achieve our set targets.
“The overwhelming win is a clear indication that delegates have trust in our management, they have trusted us again with football, and we will do our best to make sure that everyone enjoys every bit of football in the country.’’
CAF president, Ahmad Ahmad, said he was never in doubt that Mwenda would win his bid for re-elction.
“I was not surprised when I learnt about your brilliant re-election as the head of the Football Kenya Federation, thus confirming the high performance and the high efficiency of your work since 2016, the year of your first taking office, and I hasten to present you my most warm and sincere congratulations,” Ahmad said in a congratulatory letter to Ahmad.
“This second term, which you obtained by an impressive majority, is the demonstration that your entire term has been appreciated and strongly supported.
“Considered as one of our youngest National Association president, you represent a role model and an example of pride to follow for African sports youth, and I remain convinced that you will continue all of your actions with the same vigour and the same determination.
“I encourage you on this path to success which reflects the prestigious ambition of the Kenyan nation which has made the sport a national priority.’’