Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Captain of virtue

Celebrity sportsmen have through time found it really hard to keep their pants up away from home and their names off the sleazier sections of the press.

Last year, Tiger Woods' dalliance with more than a dozen women did things to his reputation that even an elephant would hesitate to do to a glass cage holding its young. Dude is now divorced and a hundred mil poorer.

Soon after the Woods' saga hit the tabloids, it was quickly followed by the lurid tales of one Jacob Zuma, who even two decades after the death of Apartheid remains unwilling to put down his machine gun. [OK. Maybe Zuma isn't exactly a sports personality. But he has been quite a player in the romantic field, which sort of qualifies him for that sporty title, doesn't it?]

News of Zuma's 20th-born was still settling in when another sports celebrity waddled into the murky sludge of tabloid press. John Terry, Chelsea and former England captain, was soon afterward reported to have showed more than passing interest to the ex-girlfriend of his England and former Chelsea team-mate, Wayne Bridge, and the reports caused such outrage among the English public that England coach Fabio Capello, fearing the destabilizing effect the incident would have on the England team as they prepared for the World Cup, promptly stripped Terry of the England captaincy.

Now, let us for a minute transfer the JT debacle to Kenya and assume that in the place of Terry, it was the Harambee Stars captain who was implicated in an affair with the ex-girlfriend of a team-mate. Would the public have shown the kind of outrage shown by the English and demanded that he be stripped of his armband?

That, of course, would never happen. In fact, as rhetorical questions go, that question would put the rhetoric in rhetorical.

First of all, unless the lady in question is actually married to the team-mate,a Kenyan would see absolutely nothing wrong with the captain's action.  If there is no ring around the fourth finger of her left hand, then she is, for all intents and purposes, fair game. In the JT saga, the lady, a French lingerie model called Veronica Perroncel, wasn't the wife, or even the current girlfriend, but the EX girlfriend of Wayne Bridge. In Kenyan books, nothing wrong there.

But even if a queer section of the Kenyan public had found the saga even remotely repulsive and opined that Twahir Muhiddin, Ghost Mulee, that clueless German or whoever it is in charge of the Stars should relieve the captain of his leadership duties, then this high-minded percentage of humanity would first of all have to contend with members of the erstwhile captain's ethnic community, who will scream, shout and even uproot a few railway sleepers to protest against the victimization of their community.

But the main reason no furore whatsoever would be raised is quite simple: Over 80% of Kenyans don't watch Kenyan football, and of the 20% that follow it regularly, Two thirds have absolutely no idea who the hell the Harambee Stars captain is.

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