Govt to support sportspersons affected by virus

Wednesday May 13 2020
By VICTOR OTIENO

The government has initiated plans to bail out a section of sportsmen and women who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, Nation Sport has established.

Different sports federations in the country on Friday told Nation Sport that they had been directed by the Ministry of Sports to identify members of their respective national teams, who have “seriously been affected” by the pandemic, with a view of cushioning them.

Some of the federations that confirmed receiving the directive on diverse dates are - Kenya Hockey Union (KHU), Kenya Taekwondo Federation, Kenya Basketball Federation and Kenya Netball Federation.

The federations said that they received the communication through their respective liaison officers in the Ministry of Sports and it specified that the names should be of national team members only, who have been hit hard by the pandemic.

George Oyoo, the Kenya Taekwondo Federation (KTF) Secretary General said: “We received the directive on Tuesday and forwarded the names yesterday (Thursday).”

He said that most of their members are struggling to fend for themselves and family after several events that KTF had planned to participate in this year were postponed because of the pandemic.

They are the President’s Cup Kenya that was planned for April 10-13 in Mombasa and the 2020 World Taekwondo President’s Cup in Ivory Coast on May 22 and 23.

Others are Madaraka Cup in Nairobi on May 30 and June 1, Rwanda Genocide Memorial Cup in Kigali in June and Korea Open in South Korea in July.

KHU president Nashon Randieki, who received the directive on Friday said, “It is very clear that we only send names of national team players and technical officials.”

While the Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed had in an earlier interview with NTV said that plans were underway to cushion players, she did not mention the exact date when that will happen.

And after President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday ordered that Sh100 million from Sports Fund be used to cushion artists and musicians, calls for the government to bail out sportsmen and women as well became rife.

According to sources, a meeting to discuss how the sportsmen and women will be helped took place on Thursday.

Sports Principal Secretary Joe Okudo confirmed that plans to bail out a section of sportsmen and women in the country was underway.

“We are planning to help those who are the most vulnerable and still at very initial stage. However, many well-wishers are coming forth and ring fencing whom they want to support based on their own preferences for their respective sport.”

He did not clarify whether the support will be extended to players who are not in the national team, but are doing duty for various sports clubs in the country.

Officials of various sports clubs also confirmed not receiving a directive to submit names of players who are in dire need of the assistance during this pandemic.