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Government decidedly doing disservice to Kenyan sports

Monday November 4 2019

Principal Secretary for Sports Ambassador Kirimi Kaberia (centre) is mobbed by players and officials at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport when the team arrived from AfroCan Basketball championship in Mali on July 29, 2019. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Principal Secretary for Sports Ambassador Kirimi Kaberia (centre) is mobbed by players and officials at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport when the team arrived from AfroCan Basketball championship in Mali on July 29, 2019. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

MOSES OJUANG'
By MOSES OJUANG'
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Some few weeks ago, some players of the national women football team were on some television sports show.

They talked about football, their hopes and aspirations for better performance; their need to serve and fly the country’s flag high. They were generally optimistic but that was not all. They poured their hearts out about their frustrations.

It came out that they had not been paid any allowances for God knows how long. Their doors had been closed by landlords for not paying rent; their children were out of school and they were giving up hope of ever being paid by the relevant government department. Their talent had metamorphosed into a mega curse as it always does in this country.

Last Tuesday, the president of Football Kenya Federation Nick Mwendwa, out of frustration, declared that he was going to break the Harambee Starlets camp due to lack of funds from the Sports Ministry. He boldly hit out at the Sports Principal Secretary Kirimi Kaberia after failing to get funding from the government. According to reports, Kaberia has failed to release funds to the FKF due to their failure to produce an audit of the funds handed to them which was made public by Mwendwa.

He clarified thus: “We have accounted for money as required, we have applied and followed procedure. The PS has to pay or say he won’t. We can’t have one man doing this.”

The one man did not have to answer. Instead, the Cabinet Secretary for Sports Amina Mohamed made a courtesy call to the girls at their camp. They must have jolted her from her comfortable slumber and she made some sweet sounding speech to them. Salvation must always come late so that egos are massaged here as did Doris Petra the deputy to Mwendwa. She meekly thanked the CS for “her timely intervention”.

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Mohamed on her part said: “We as the government, will create a suitable environment for the national team players to represent us as winners and hold our flag high. I am happy to come and visit you today as the Harambee Starlets team and wish you good luck in the game against Zambia.”

This situation will repeat itself as long as this country is still called Kenya. We may wish that some sanity somehow infuse itself into the crania of those running sports in this country.

The joke has been taken too far and must be halted now. If the government is serious in creating employment to the youth, it must also realise that in the field of sports there are many slots for employment and that we are killing lots of talents. If the Principal Secretary for Sports is the stumbling block in this endeavour then he should just exit and deport himself to some obscure country so that we forget about him completely.

We must change!

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