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Kenya's sporting malaise

NAIROBI, Kenya, February 14 – Almost synonymous with Kenyan sports, in the mention of one, the other follows closely, an unwanted twin who loyal supporters abhor.

GORDON_OLUOCHHeroism of Kenyan Sports cannot be over-emphasized, from the good old days of wonder boxers, whose gloves were glued to speed and power and punished opponents in the ring to super fly athletes on the track.

The announcement to the world of Kenya dating back to just after independence is sheer statement of talent, dominance and determination to the well known East African Nation now.

Over the Years, the 30 million plus nation has risen to the occasion when duty called, with Kenyan runners dominating the tracks, bagging medals upon medals.

The country’s football has shown if anything its potential with now if not contenders for a world cup spot then worthy opponents to group’s favourites, the female volleyball’s list of spoils in the continent is there for all to see, few years back the Kenyan cricketers were a massive success.

The rosy picture of ports in the country however gets thorny when management is introduced and rightly so.

Dozens of treasured athletes have either been lured with big money to change their nationality, sighting poor management of the sports or lack of progressing opportunities, remunerations questions, and never ending tail pulling in administration of the sport.
Kenya Football would get a trophy in a good, consistent and a successful run on management squabbles.

Having successfully devised a way to get the country suspended, banned indefinitely countless times, the managers of football in the country are still at it, which raises a fundamental question to the sports fraternity, what is the genesis of federations squabbles in the country?

Sports Commissioner Mr. Gordon Oluoch attempts to demystify the problem.

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“Separating the wheat from the chaff in managing of sports in the country is the key,” he said  

The school of thought for people who come to management of sports differs, while some retired players join management of the game believing they have the best interests of the game at heart, other individuals go into management with hope of making money, and others simply make it to the fold to further political ambitions.

According to the sports commissioner, the failure of the country to strike a managerial compromise is to blame for the sporting upheavals.

So where do these developments leave the central benefactors and the lovers of the game? The players and the fans.

OLIECHMaybe as the country and the sports commissioner search for answers and wonder around the maze of sports management, the should not look far, Kenya Rugby Football Union has managed to craft a winning formula that is undoubtedly credited for the success of the game and propelling Kenya to worldwide fame.  

From the least of disciplines, call it Table Tennis, or squash, in terms of drawing the numbers, to the grandiose, Football and Athletics, owing to their ability to attract huge sums of cash and flood the stadium with fans, they share a bed with federation squabbles.

The million dollar question is, what happens to sportsmen and women who have their livelihoods embedded in sports as a career?    

No doubt Kenya sport is a multi-million venture, the evidence of this reflected in an Sh86 million preparation chest made available for the Olympic team to utilize, the football national team budget projections of over Sh234 million (Approx US$ 3M) then one slowly understands the reluctance of players to comment about upheavals in their respective mining fields, and the magnitude of the million dollar problem.               

Mr. Oluoch insists the perfect blend of professional management and others who have passion for the sports could just be the answer to the age old question that has been hounding the talented country.

Drawing conclusions to management of multi-million dollars sports, like football in the UK, American football in the US, cricket in India, the sports commissioner finds backing of evidence, that, the love of the game must be married to the discipline of professionalism to create the ideal union. 

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