Congratulations, Kenya men’s and women’s rugby sevens teams, for qualifying for next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games.
With the women’s side having earned tickets earlier, the men’s made it two straight Olympic appearances in a row when they won the Africa Sevens Cup on Saturday in Johannesburg.
Having won the Singapore leg of the global World Sevens Series in 2016 and making four other appearances in the Main Cup final on different legs of the circuit, the side has proved they have what it takes to get a medal at the Olympics.
But administrative problems have always cropped up, as witnessed at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
In the run-up to Rio, the teams were not well taken care of, with disquiet over financial rewards, lack of proper training facilities and confusion on the technical bench.
We hope lessons have been learnt, especially after the government-appointed Rio 2016 Probe Committee pointed out the need for a cohesive technical bench, fair team selection and proper remuneration of players and coaches.
Meanwhile, today, the national women’s football team, Harambee Starlets, play Zambia in Lusaka requiring a win to make it to the final round of the Olympic qualifiers following their 2-2 first leg draw in Nairobi last Friday. We wish them well.
And with the Kenyan squad to Tokyo expected to be significantly larger than the Rio one, the onus is on the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (Nock) to launch early preparations for 2020 Tokyo Games, especially on fundraising.
The stand-off between sports federations and the Ministry of Sport over funding doesn’t augur well for the preparations and indecision by the Committee on Sports of the National Assembly, which is supposed to resolve the impasse, isn’t helping matters either.