The most conspicuous item in 2013 manifesto for Jubilee Coalition was five stadiums and one was to be built in Garisa. What a gem of an idea. Many people especially the young bought sunglasses in anticipation for a very bright future. The irony is now they have to look for spectacles with magnifying lenses when looking at the performance of the Jubilee Government through sports window.
Sports was the flower in the manifesto of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto unfortunately it remained so when they got into government. I can guess that sports is also the flower at cabinet meetings and Cabinet Secretary for Sports Hassan Wario as the flower boy designate. It is meant to spruce up our social and economic space but it ends up sprucing the imagination of our politicians.
The 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil is a fiasco sports enthusiasts in Kenya want to block from their memory. If Coke is the global mascot of CocaCola, then sports is to Kenya what Coke is to CocaCola. To date, no one knows the formula of ingredients used to make Coke because CocaCola has selfishly protected their prized product over time. Our athletes uniforms were stolen, allowances disappeared; tickets for coaches were missing while joy riders had access to Olympic Village and not some coaches. This is what we get even for an event that happens once in four years. Meanwhile the prosecution of NOCK officials is turning into a circus.
Confederation of African Football (CAF) officials are coming back in August to tell us that CHAN 2018, the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) version for players based in Africa will be moved to Morocco. CAF will not allow the world to watch their matches being played in substandard stadiums out of Nairobi. The two facilities being fronted are Machakos’ Kenyatta Stadium and Meru’sKinoru Stadium. It is a shame when Government officials and FKF President confidently walk CAF officials into these two facilities. Let it go, it is never that serious.
Recently word leaked that Harambee Stars players get Ksh. 500 per day ($5) as allowance. The public was shocked that the national team players can be paid such an amount of money and still expected to win. The team went to Sierra-Leon for an AFCON qualifier and lost. The excuse by FKF is that is the amount stipulated by Ministry of Sports for all sportsmen across the board. They later organized a sponsorship through betting firm Sportpesa to pad up the amount.
If I dint have to rush to look for ways of earning some money for the elusive maize flour, I would have delved into other sports as well. In Kenya, we never give sports a second thought because the first thought we give it at a glance is enough. This is the reason I silently pity many young passionate Kenyans who believe they can make it in sports; kindly have a plan B.
We have never realized the benefit of sports. Political leaders like Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero organize Governors Cup in the belief that they are promoting sports and the youth. Meanwhile the County Government owned City Stadium and Woodley Stadium are as dilapidated as Mogadishu Stadium before the Chinese renovated it.
If we are not ready to give sports the attention it deserves, let us not use it to spruce up our selfish ambitions. Sportsmen and women have suffered enough; rubbing salt into their injuries is not fair.