A poll conducted by research company CPS International has ranked Kenyatta University as the best Kenyan university in sports, among 55 institutions of higher learning sampled.
The Thika Road-based institution which has teams spread across some of the top leagues in the country including basketball, netball and volleyball managed to get 223 ranking points ahead of University of Nairobi which had 215 and United States International University (USIU-A) which picked 191.
“It’s very encouraging because we have put in a lot of work to build our teams and ensure we play as many sports as possible. We are usually among the first universities to receive and welcome new sports like now we have woodball and rollball,” Samuel Litaba, the new Kenyatta University Director of Sports told Capital Sport after the poll was released.
CPS said it used 17 variables to rank 55 universities across the country.
The biggest point earner in the two-month long research was the level of investment in sporting facilities which was graded between 0-100. Also considered is the annual budgetary allocation by the university as well as the number of sporting activities.
“This is just the beginning because it is a one of a kind research. We will have improvements moving forward and among other aspects we will be considering include whether or not the university has produced world beaters,” Professor Herman Manyora, a respected lecturer at the University of Nairobi who presented the CPS research findings said.
He reiterated that sport, in the current world is an important aspect in growth of the economy and empowering the youth, while regretting that most of the government institutions had not taken it as serious as it ought to be.
The research, as explained by Manyora, also found out limited or no government support at all for most of the universities sports programs while some universities such as Kisii, Kibabii, Masinde Muliro and the Great Lakes University share training grounds with local high schools and villages.
“In a country where we produce world beaters, it is very disheartening to see that no meaningful investment is put into sports at the University level. An example is the Eldoret University which is located in an ideal high altitude area, but lacks proper equipment and facilities to foster growth of sports,” Manyora noted.
Among the positives noted included the Kenya Methodist University’s scholarship program to women footballers which has seen the production of several Harambee Starlets players including Terry Ouko and Cherish Avillia.
Kenyatta University’s establishment of a sports coaching academy, as well as a department of physical and health education coupled with decent facilities and investment in well-trained coaches gave them an edge over the others.
“This is something very positive for us because it will push our institutions to invest more in sports talent because we have a lot of it. It will also help us to build on the gaps that already exists to make everything better,” the Kenya University Sports Association (KUSA) chairman Mbabu Muriithi who also doubles up as the University of Nairobi dean of sports noted.
Top 10 universities in sports:
1. Kenyatta University
2. University of Nairobi
3. United States International University
4. Mount Kenya University
5. Strathmore University
6. Moi University
7. Egerton University
8. Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology
9. University of Eldoret
10. Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University.