I was rather perturbed by Assistant Minister for Sport Kabando wa Kabando’s ministerial statement in Parliament last week.
The assistant minister, who often comes out as level-headed and knowledgeable on matters sport, got it wrong this time.
Responding to a question in which a member sought to know why cricket was declining, he stated, inter alia, that the Government had now taken charge of the game because it had invested heavily in cricket. He said the Nairobi Gymkhana ground was an example of that investment.
Back to investment, the source of that information the honourable assistant minister gave the August House does not know what he is talking about or he is deliberately distorting facts.
Playing the race card in cricket is naïve to the extreme. For we all know the driving force of that sport. We all know whose companies were employing those indigenous Kenyan players who raised the profile of the game locally the and whose network they used to ascend to the global elite circuit.
It was a minority group, yes, of Kenyans of Asian extract and a few Kenyans of European origin who made it possible for our indigenous brothers to play cricket.
When Kenya was getting first class matches and playing against Test nations, which helped a great deal in raising their performance, it was this global network at play.
Lest we forget, it was Kenyans of Asian extract and their friends and cousins in India and South Africa who mobilised global support that gave Kenya the much-needed push.
That is not to say local Kenyans did not play a part. Their passion for the sport made them the best cricket nation outside Test circuit.
But the roles played by Bashir Mauladad, the late Premjibhai Khoda, Naushad Merali, , the late Robbie Armstrong, Sharad Ghai, Jimmy Rayani, the influential Wanderers group, and the financially-endowed Ismailia and Sunni Muslims of Aga Khan, Jaffreys and Sir Ali communities must not be forgoten in lifting Kenyan cricket.
When Kenya bid to host 1994 ICC Trophy, I vividly remember the late Armstrong presenting the bid documents to then British Prime Minister, the Right Honourable John Major, which gave the bid the much-needed boost.