None of the Kenyan teams heading to the 12th African Games primed for August 19-31 in Rabat, Morocco, will be cut down, the government declared on Tuesday.
Speaking after a meeting with team managers at the Moi International Sport Centre, Kasarani, Kirimi Kaberia, the Sports Principal Secretary said that they will go as per the African Games Organising Committee, COJA quota.
“We are now clear with team managers that the standards and requirements by COJA will be followed and no discipline should be worried that its quota will be cut,” said Kaberia.
“All the quota especially for athletes will be considered 100 percent and it’s upon the respective teams to determine.”
The move comes as a relief for athletics and Tae kwon-do, who had protested after Team Kenya management whittled down their numbers.
Athletics, which had a quota of 104, had presented a list of 96 athletes and officials, but the management had cut it to 75.
Tae kwon-do men and women’s teams had been whittled down by four for a total to 12, but will now send a team of 16; eight men and similar number of women.
“The issue of tae kwon-do has been settled, but there were no issues in athletics really since they wanted more officials on board rather than athletes,” said Kaberia.
“The challenge has been with federations wanting more slots than what COJA dictates.”
On the issue of allowances, he said that they will be wired directly to the athletes and officials bank accounts directly and immediately.
“What we have been doing is verification of everyone’s bank account details and having them signed against them before we can release the money,” said Kaberia.
“Systems have changed from people getting money in envelopes to their bank accounts which brings in accountability and transparency.”
Athletes are getting Sh1,000 in local while US$125 (Sh12,500) in overseas allowances daily, while the officials are pocketing Sh1,500 local and US$ 150 (Sh15,000) overseas.
Kaberia said the rates are in law and as per the recommendations by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).
“There is no secret with what they will be getting and it’s my wish that we put issues of allowances behind and discuss performances, what we expect in Morocco,” said Kaberia.
Kaberia noted that they want to spend 50 percent of what is allocated for sports in the annual budget on improving sports infrastructure in the country.
The government will spend close to Sh400 million in Team Kenya’s participation at the African Games. The country will be represented by a squad of 350 athletes and officials.
“We don’t spend money unnecessarily and cut on excesses. Let us try and limit on cost so that we can vault more on infrastructure development,” said Kaberia.
Kaberia clarified that it’s the Kenya National Sports Council that has the liberty of knowing whether the team needs a ceremonial uniform during the opening and closing ceremony of the games or not.
Kaberia’s sentiments on the uniforms comes even as teams including judokas started leaving the country for the games on Tuesday.
Kenya claimed two bronze medals in the discipline during the 2015 edition held in Congo, Brazzaville through Dianah Kana (70kg) and John Kirimi (66kg).
Kana and Karimi are mong those who are making a return at the African games alongside Samson Wambi, George Kimani, Esther Ikiugu and James Mashombo.
“We have high expectations especially in Mashombo and Caroline Ochieng, who have been training in Canada and Italy respectively,” said head coach Joseph Waweru.