On Tuesday, the few Kenyans who care to follow local sports or football in particular were treated to not-so-rare drama by the indefatigable head of the football federation.
It was a minor incident in the larger scope of things because such melodramatic moves by heads of federations in Kenya are not new, but it said a lot about sports administration in Kenya.
Every now and then, Kenyans throw names of people who should head the Sports ministry because there is a feeling that the wrong people always get appointed and fail to deliver though it is common knowledge that successive governments do not put much emphasis on sports.
Of late, because of the transition in government, such calls have increased but the people whose names are being proposed have not been tried and tested, so to speak. If they are appointed, they may just end up like others before them considering that there is no evidence that they can lift Kenya out of the doldrums.
On Tuesday, sports fans and sports stakeholders —whatever that means — were proposing people who should head the football federation. They have always insisted that person should be a former footballer arguing that he or she would understand the needs of the players.
But understanding the needs of the players though very important, is just one of the duties of a federation boss in a modern world where sports management requires understanding of global trends in marketing and commerce.
On that day, Nick Mwendwa, one man who seems to be in a love-hate relationship with Ministry of Sports, felt that he had been out of his office for long and had to go back. That was a good move, we can argue, by someone who swears that football standards in Kenya must improve under his watch — even though results show the contrary — only that Nick's office was disbanded by the Sports ministry which does not recognise him as the federation's head.
That is why after he gained entry, the Sports ministry which appointed a transition committee to run football affairs, issued a statement saying that it had been informed of a break-in at the federation's offices by indicted officials who were legally removed from office.
The following day, the High Court sitting in Nairobi ruled against Nick in a case where he wanted to block his prosecution over an alleged Sh38 million theft. Whichever way the case goes will not mean that the standard of Kenyan football will improve because Nick's saga is just a small part of the rot.
Days before Nick's move, the transition committee had postponed, for the umpteenth time, the kick off of the premier league, further proving that when it comes to sports administration in Kenya, the only constant is confusion.
Away from the football pitches, there is also confusion on the creases of Cricket Kenya where the relatively new officials who were elected in February have to put up with a string of loses to minions. By the time elections were being held, Kenyan cricket had gone through a tumultuous period and the Sports ministry had to step in with a transition team labeled normalisation committee.
Unlike the football committee which is not liked very much, the cricket one worked on a new constitution, had it adopted, held elections and left an office in place.
It was thought that would be the cure for all which had been ailing cricket and that the different categories of national teams will get back to winning ways, but it has not been so. Late last month and early this month, Kenya lost two series to Nepal in the two formats of the game in Nairobi, and this week, Kenya lost to Uganda and Tanzania in the Africa Cricket Association Cup in South Africa.
It was not lost on Kenyans that Tanzania's coach is a former Kenyan player who can also take credit for Uganda's success because he helped them build structures and nurture the current team when he was their coach until January 2020. Well, even Kenya's coach whose tactics are not working used to play for Kenya—and this fact debunks the myth that such a person would always get positive results.
While this piece has dwelt on football and cricket, the problems they face are not unique to them since there is virtually no entity charged with running the affairs of any sports discipline in Kenya that can claim to be doing well.
Chaos and confusion reign in all sports federations, and the government's hands are tied by incompetence inasmuch as it appoints Sports ministry heads because of their politics and not their knowledge and administrative skills.
The people who get elected to head the federations too are not any better and if Kenyans want positive results, they will have to start with the federations—then push the government to clean up its act.