In January, athletes breathed a sigh of relief when the government constituted the Sports, Art and Social Development Fund board. President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed Lt Gen (retired) Jackson Tuwei chairman. Among other things, the Fund is meant to ensure sports, the arts and social development projects are well financed. It is meant to equitably disburse funds to all national teams before and during international competitions.
The Fund has so far paid out Sh250 million to Kenya Golf Union for the 2019 Magical Kenya Open Championship and Sh244 million to Football Kenya Federation for preparations for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Kenya Motor Sports Federation has also received Sh400 million for the 2019 Safari Rally, with the hope that the event will be reinstated back to the World Rally Championship Circuit. There was also a disbursement of over Sh181 million to Kenya’s elite athletes.
However, some sports disciplines have been struggling to get funding. Kenya women’s rugby team, the Kenya Lionesses, are currently in South Africa taking part in qualifiers for the 2019 World Cup with no support from the government. Last year, the men’s rugby team, Kenya Simbas, struggled to honour 2019 World Cup qualifier matches without government funding, and last month, Kenya Under-20 team travelled to Argentina to compete in World Junior Trophy Championship without state facilitation.
Tuwei’s team should put its house in order to ensure national teams honour international engagements.