NAIROBI, July 29 – A committee set up to investigate the banning of 36 junior hockey players said Tuesday that it was on course to presenting its findings to Sports Minister Helen Sambili next week.,
The Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) banned the 36 youngsters for between three to five years for withdrawing from the under-21 African Cup of Nations in Egypt last week.
Sports Commissioner Gordon Oluoch, who is part of the committee, spoke to Capital Sport said: “The committee has already spoken to Kenya Hockey Union and they have submitted a written report to us. We shall be speaking to the players as well so as to establish the truth of the matter”.
Oluoch added that his panel’s report would include recommendations on how to handle future player boycotts.
“We shall soon be handing over the report to the minister and soon will be making the matter public,” he said.
The Sports Commissioner was not open to spell any solutions to the matter but reckoned the ban was too harsh.
“I do not want to pre-empt yet but it is my opinion that a 5 year ban is a little harsh for young players. We will still need them, they might have been misguided but we do not want to pre-empt. Let us get the facts of the matter”.
They players alleged that they refused to play because of unpaid allowances triggering the negative reaction that saw the men’s and women’s side ordered out of Egypt on July 20.
Oluoch was, however, quick to point out that the young players may have had reason for the boycott.
“Maybe they were justified even though it might look a little un-patriotic but we shall get to the bottom of it when the time comes”.
A meeting to address the issue of defiant players was held last week Tuesday and invoked International Federation of Hockey Code of Conduct Statutes to punish the rebels.
The Code reads in part: "No person may conduct himself in a manner or commit any act or omission which may prejudice the interest of hockey or what may bring the game of hockey into disrepute."
Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) Secretary, Peter Kiruma, said: "The players have found themselves in the mix for violating the international Code of Conduct they signed."
The KHU took the action following a directive from FIH and African Hockey Union (AHF) to impose tough sanctions on the players for bringing the game into disrepute by refusing to play.
Meanwhile, Kiruma claimed that the suspended players received instructions to riot from people in Nairobi.
"We are getting to the bottom of the matter that the players were incited to riot from Nairobi," he said.
He denied all the accusation leveled against the Union by the players saying they were not factual.