Legends: Chat with 'Kenya One' Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas' star shone while playing for the Kenya national team, Harambee Stars as a goalkeeper between 1980 and 1984 and for AFC Leopards between 1979 and 1985.
During this period, Kenya won the CECAFA cup 3 times in row while AFC Leopards won the CECAFA club cup too thrice. His strength was particular with his penalty saving heroics and his commanding presence between the posts. He became a legend all over Africa and in particular East and Central Africa and earned himself the nickname Kenya One.
Both prior and after his reign, no keeper has managed to command the number one position without much challenge making him a legend he is.
Futaa.com shared a moment with the legend.
Place of Birth: Mombasa
Inspiration: Mahmoud Mohammed [the late]
Education: Khamis Secondary School
Clubs: Mwenge FC, Kenya Breweries [Tusker], Abaluya FC [AFC], Re-Union FC
What is your feeling about the tujiamini campaign?
First I would like to thank Sportpesa for the great effort but unfortunately they have threatened to pull out due to taxation at the end of the year but I have told their CEO that if we can be able to have access to see the president then it can be very good.
What do you think should be done to ensure that legends play a direct role to development of soccer in the country?
First, the federation has to accommodate us which at the moment is not the case since they don’t recognize us; same as the government. It has to place some cushion behind us and this hast happened so after the election we hope that something will be better.
Do you think the Kenyan game has grown over time?
No! The game has deteriorated. I remember in the 1990 I was one of the players who played Thailand and we beat them 4-0 enroute to Algerian and in that team we were with Tobias Ocholla. So instead of forward we are retracting.
What do you think should be done to get the game back on its feet?
Youth Programs. Others and others came from these programs in 1970s. Germany and other big nations are making progress because of such moves because from youth you get another Olich, Wanyama, JJ but without them you can’t get far.
Recently we have seen a trend of attacking some former players. Your view?
It is very bad because what people like Dennis [Oliech] have done for Kenya is marvelous and it has an end. We have to pray and support them at all times.
How do we best professionalize this game?
The government must dedicate itself to the course and work hand in hand with the federation. We must also lay special focus on the pitches and stadia since we currently don’t have standard ones as they promised and I hope they can do it this year.