PARIS, France, June 10 – Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed says the government will invest more on putting up high level sporting infrastructure, outlining this will be one key ingredient of ensuring national teams perform better at international competitions.
The CS pointed out she was challenged after visiting the National Centre of Rugby in Marcoussis, Paris where Harambee Stars is putting up a three-week training camp for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON)
“Yes, we are encouraged to spend more on federations, but more importantly on infrastructure. It is amazing that you can have such a facility and now that we are trying to make Kasarani and Nyayo, I can see the standard to which we must bring all infrastructure and facilities,” Amina told Capital Sport in France.
“Touring this facility has been a real eye opener and informative. I have learnt quite a lot on what needs to be put in place for a team to have the support it needs to participate internationally. These are lessons and good practices we will take back which we think we should emulate. Maybe not same scale but similar fashion, we have learnt what makes teams great,” she further stated.
The National Rugby Centre in Marcoussis is a complete training complex with all manner of facilities and equipment including three outdoor pitches, one indoor one, two separate gyms, a recovery pool among other facilities used at top level training.
The venue was selected by Stars head coach Sebastien Migne, a native of France.
It is tucked away 35km from the capital Paris and is in a serene, quiet and secluded region, far away from distraction and intrusion.
The centre is used by all French national rugby teams including the men and women’s 7s and 15s teams as well as the junior sides. The French Rugby Federation (FFR) also hires out the facility to different teams wishing to train there.
Most famously, the FFR complex in Marcoussis hosted the Portugal national team when they won the Euros hosted in France in 2016 with Cristiano Ronaldo and Co completely shutting down the expansive facility and roads adjacent to train.
Amina says she was pleased that the amount of money they spent on Harambee Stars has been put to good use and believes the complex has given good value for money. She was taken round the entire facility from the players’ rooms, dining area, meeting rooms, gyms, recovery area and the pitch.
The government gave Stars a budget of Sh244mn, a huge chunk of which was channeled to acquiring the Marcoussis facility.
“This is absolutely good (value for money). I am happy I came and I can see what this money has done. It’s the first time we are spending such amounts of money on a national team and at least we can show this as an example, as a model going forward that the money provided by government is put to good use,”
“I had a session with the players and they are pleased with the support they are getting and the facility so we are happy that it’s money well spent. Already we can see the fruits of the support we gave after the Madagascar game,” Amina stated.
Meanwhile, FKF president has said the onus is now on the team to ensure they translate that support received from the government to results on the pitch when they head out to Egypt for the Cup of Nations next week.
“This is a first in football. The cooperation between government and federation before hasn’t been where it is supposed to be but now you can see that government has not only funded us but is here to see what work we are doing to ensure that the support is there and available,”
“I can only say thank you and we will continue to do the good job. We have received the best support and the players can say that the job is only beginning. There is a big job to be done,” Mwendwa commented.
Amina has promised the players that she will be there in Egypt to give them the necessary support as they aim to do well in their first Cup of Nations since 2004.
-Timothy Olobulu is reporting from Paris, France-