Mohamed Hussein is proving that Somalis are a hard nut to crack. This has been one of my long held beliefs. Again he has also proven that Somalis are very industrious people when it comes to business, yet another belief that I hold. Now, away from what many would consider prejudice, Hussein Mohammed has become a figure that can’t be wished away in the Kenyan football sphere. Given the kind of positive influence he has brought into Kenyan football it will be a disaster if we lost such a brilliant brain because of the fights Football Kenya Federation have been taking to his yard.
Some might term him a divisive power hungry figure but for me, he is an individual seeking for solutions for glaring problems that many have chosen to be blind to. Extreme Sports, Hussein Mohamed’s sports management company became a household name courtesy of the Super Eight knock-out tournament. The tournament has grown from its domicile in Nairobi and spread to other parts of the country like Mombasa and the surrounding areas. This success in my opinion has created the problems which Extreme Sports is currently facing. Hussein Mohamed is a victim of his own success.
Jealousy kicked into the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) on realizing that another strong football league is developing at a very first rate to further kill their hold on the sport in Kenya. FKF since the formulation of Kenyan Premier League (K) Limited, a company that took over the management of the top league in the country when Kenya Football Federation (FKF’s predecessor) was embroiled in internal wrangles, has been having sleepless nights and unending supremacy battles with the said entity. The entry of Extreme Sports into the already unfriendly field worsened matters with FKF working hard to expel them out just like they did with Safaricom’s Sakata Ball Challenge.
Hussein Mohamed being someone who has shown great prowess and intent when it comes to sports administration should by now have realized that he is a marked man. To reduce the hurdles and challenges facing him in this hostile field, I have a suggestion for him which I believe is workable. There is a very huge vacuum in the age grade level of Kenyan football which has a huge unexploited potential. I am a great proponent of community based football/sport and the making of sport a core-curricula part of the Kenyan education system. If you take a good look at the clubs participating in the Extreme Sports leagues, they are either community based or from an education institution. Umoja Renegades, Jericho All Stars, Dandora All Stars are all community clubs while Technical University of Kenya and Wazito are all from education institutions. Hussein Mohamed should forge a partnership with the education institutions and start a University/College football league in Kenya.
In the developed world, the schools and universities/college sports leagues are huge success stories. Here in Kenya the area is yet to be fully exploited, what exist are poorly managed annual tournaments. The Kenya Primary Schools Sports Association (KPSSA), Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association (KSSSA) and the Kenya Universities Sports Association (KUSA) have done a fairly good job in trying to keep sports going on in the education institutions in the country. Unfortunately their events have been done with the same old pre-agrarian evolution format. Very little has changed over time to professionalize their operations. It is time the organizations seek a private partner to professionalize their events. Extreme Sports will be a great partner.
By taking up the role of running a continuous football league in the education institutions, Extreme Sports will have a chance to have a greater impact in Kenya than they have currently. The Universities/Colleges league can be the top league, the Secondary Schools second tier and Primary Schools third tier. In this system, players will battle fiercely for bragging rights, prize money and trophies. Inter-school rivalry in Kenya is very much a live and lasts in many people even after leaving school many years later. In the 2014 KSSSA football finals played at Bukhungu Stadium between Kisumu Day Secondry School and Kakamega High School, a capacity crowd of over 15,000 spectators showed up to cheer their teams with numbers of people travelling from Kisumu to watch the match in Kakamega.
Tusker F.C a club in the Kenya Premier League which is about to clinch her 11th title, the third most successful club in Kenyan football has less than ten regular fans in their matches. Only matches involving AFC Leopards and GorMahia can get such a number of fans in the stadium. Through a partnership with the stakeholders in education institutions, Extreme Sports (K) Limited can come up with something beautiful for this country. The arrangement will eventually promote sports scholarships in learning institutions. Many talented bright students end up dropping out of school due to lack of fees something that could be reversed by making sports to be core-curricula activities that will force education institutions to invest in.
Having properly managedfootball leagues throughout the year as opposed to the annual knock-out tournaments involving education institutions will be a great breeding ground for talent. It will also become easy to follow through and nature talent from a young age. If we take an association like KSSSA to show the potential in this area, anyone genuinely interested in developing sport in Kenya won’t think twice to approach them. KSSSA background and track record:
• Umbrella body for all secondary school sports under the ministry of education
• All public secondary schools participate plus private schools
• Always voted in the top three associations in annual sports awards. 2014 winner
• Games have been forward planned up to 2023
• Over 7,000 secondary schools
• Afraha Stadium- Over 5,000 spectators
• Kisumu Stadium- Over 10,000 spectators
• Mombasa Stadium – Over 5,000 spectators
• Kakamega- over 15,000 spectators
• TV Broadcasts and live transmissions, latest NTV 2015
• Coverage on all major television sports news
• Unpaid media coverage
• Elicits highest unpaid media coverage of any local sports, all without PR Support, with PR support the coverage can easily double.
• Supported by the ministry of education
I will be happy to see Exreme Sports (K) Limited take up my suggestion and work on it seriously.