Book Review – Away from Victory: Pain, Politics and Privilege in Kenyan Football by Zachary Oguda

This book is bold as it delves into the corruption in Kenya Football, a subject that is too hot to handle for most journalists.

It starts with documenting the rise of one Nick Mwendwa, who took over as Football Kenya Federation Boss.

It was a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ moment, where many were hopeful that Mwendwa would finally lift Kenyan football from the throes of corruption, mismanagement and gangrene that had eaten it to death.

The author, Zachary Oguda, doesn’t hold back as he exposes why Kenya’s football is rotten and how the corruption in management ultimately interferes with the performance of the national team Harambee Stars.

The nine-chapter book delves into the Corruption that has made football players forge birth certificates, and backdate their age by tampering with their National ID cards.

Oguda exposes how corruption is supported by the fans and even the media. He shares a personal story.

The violence by fans is quite a sad thing.

The book reveals how Kenya loses the chance to field great players because the managers ask for bribes.

It is very interesting!

Let’s just say, life is difficult for the journalists who expose the rot and refuse kickbacks.

The Federation of Kenya Football and Kenya Premier League is run like a cash cow. A kiosk for some top managers at FKF and KPL.

This book is one of the most consequential in our times.

“If you want to find out why coaches of the National side pick certain players and not others for national duty, this book is for you,” Oguda says.

Kenya receives a lot of money from the world football governing body FIFA, but that money ends in the pockets of a few people.

It is hard to reason with FIFA.

Also, why are former sportsmen not put in-charge of the Ministry of Sports?

The few people that promise to deliver the Kenyan youth from the clutches of poverty through this particular sport, fail spectacularly by design.

Oguda tackles much more topics such as club licensing, club fanbase, football politics (football and politics), even the Gor Mahia – AFC Leopards bitter rivalry.

AFC – Gor rivalry, in a world of corrupt Kenya football is detrimental to the teams as it denies them the chance to put their houses in order, nurture youthful talent to feed the bigger team as other players retire.

Being a scribe, Oguda describes things with impeccable clarity which is best seen by buying and reading this book.

The downside was a few typos.

In the long run, the reader sees that Football can be managed better in this country and Oguda provides suggestions. Though not directly; paragraphs in his account make the reader scream in their minds, ‘things should change and this is how they should’.