A Kenyan citizen has petitioned parliament to have the nick name for the national football team changed.
Philip Zeal Chebunet from Uasin Gishu County says despite Kenya’s best performance and recognition in Africa and the rest of the world in other fields, the national football team popularly known as ‘Harambee Stars’ has sparked “neither loyalty nor pride”.
“That name is associated with defeat and a lot of negativity, in my petition I have explained how the county has failed to succeed since the 1974 World Cup .This team has never gone passed the preliminaries in the African Cup of Nations, it’s a shame,” he laments in the strongly worded petition.
Chebunet, a lecturer and resident of Moiben location says the Harambee spirit has been besmirched by corruption and lost its original altruistic spirit and the name needs “a make-over”.
He insists the name change will represent exhaustion with the status quo and a desire to be reborn and a break from the tiring past.
“That name was just coiled by Kenneth Matiba(former FA chairman) in 1976, he just woke up and came up with the name and the following day it became permanent. There was no public participation in it,” he added.
Chebunet further argues that’s since Kenya first entered its first FIFA World Cup qualification in 1974, the team has never qualified for the tournament. Having appeared in the Africa Cup of Nations five times, the team has never gone past the second round and has not qualified for the tournament since 2004.
The varsity don has urged the National Assembly through the relevant committees to urgently initiate procedure of changing the nick name of the national football team and went ahead to propose some names.
“If asked I will propose we call the team Wilder Beast because it’s a prominent feature in Kenya, it’s a tourist attraction in the country,”he told Citizen Digital in a telephone interview.
At the same time, Football Kenya Federation has aid that they cannot comment on the matter as they are yet to receive the petition.
“We have not received the petition hence we cannot comment on it,”FKF’s Communications and Public Relations Manager, Barry Otieno, said.