One foreign coach is out, and another one is in. That is what has happened to Kenya’s national cricket and sevens rugby teams in a matter of weeks.
Even before Cricket Kenya can dig itself out of the hole left by New Zealander Mike Hesson who quit after ten months, the Kenya Rugby Union has hired Mike Friday, former England Rugby Union Sevens head coach after giving marching orders to Mitch Ochola just after 11 months on the job.
Used to compare notes
At a press conference last week to address problems bedevilling cricket, Jimmy Rayani, the former head of Kenya Cricket Association (which was replaced by Cricket Kenya) disclosed that when cricket was doing well, and fans used to throng the grounds, he and fellow lawyer Richard Omwela who was the KRU head, used to compare notes on how to make rugby successful and popular.
Popularity has grown
Everything seems to have worked for rugby as in the past six or so years, its popularity has grown and the sevens rugby team under Ben Ayimba posted some very good results.
In the same period, the reverse happened for cricket, thanks to never-ending accusations, counteraccusations, distrust and blame game.
When Hesson was hired after not-so-successful spells by two foreigners, Roger Harper and Eldine Baptiste, there was so much hope since he had been successful with Otago Volts, but by the time of his departure, there was not much voltage generated, and all are in agreement that cricket was the loser.
Hesson cited insecurity as the reason of his resignation, but Mitch, who has described KRU’s move as a “knee-jerk reaction” was apparently sent packing together with the technical bench because the sevens team has not had a good run in the just-ended International Rugby Board World Sevens Series.
Social networking sites
The move by KRU attracted diverse opinions on social networking sites and people just want the game, in this case, rugby, to come out as the winner.
That has been the hardest part because in Kenya, changes are always followed by a lot of blame game – and above the din, the game is relegated to the back burner, forgotten about and the losing streak continues.
Foreign coaches can hardly be the panacea for all the problems affecting teams’ performances as, like local coaches, they do not operate in vacuums.
No matter how good they are, have been or can be, they can only post good results when the environment is conducive, and that has nothing to do with the weather, but it is all about proper administration, something that invariably eludes local federations.
There is no gainsaying that problems in the boardroom affect performance on the pitch – and once again, KRU should learn from the bad example that is Cricket Kenya, otherwise the downward slide might just continue.