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SPORTS

New year resolutions sport associations should take up

CRICKET By By SEAN CARDOVILLIS | January 11th 2014

By SEAN CARDOVILLIS

KENYA: A Happy New Year from me! I hope you all had a great holiday season, which seemed to drag on more than usual with the Jubilee celebrations added to the usual Christmas and New Year holidays.

So the first working week of 2014 is over and it’s time to see what resolutions some sporting associations should adopt this year.

Cricket

Cricket went through a horrendous 2013, with the national team being the laughing stock of the world, losing to national teams that a few years back would have been unthinkable.

Chairperson Jackie Janmohammed and her team have major issues with communicating with the public, and spats with cricket stakeholders and outsiders wanting to invest in the game locally dragged cricket to all time lows last year.

Kenya are currently in New Zealand in a last ditch effort to qualify for the World Cup, and non-qualification will be nothing short of disastrous for the sport, due to severe cuts in funding from the International Cricket Council.

Cricket Kenya must first of all communicate more with stakeholders for the betterment of the game, and also start looking further than Nairobi and other traditional strongholds by setting up junior programmes countrywide.

 Internal politics within the national team must also be stamped out so morale can be raised and results improved.

Rugby

Rugby had an eventful 2013 –– the national sevens team having its most successful IRB season ever, reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup in Moscow and finishing fifth overall in the circuit, before the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) had a somewhat acrimonious falling out with coach Mike Friday –– although the appointment of Paul Treu and his team from South Africa promises a thrilling 2014 on the IRB Sevens circuit!

The 15s national team had a pretty good year too, and are one step away from qualifying for the World Cup.

2014 has already started off positively, with the news that Kenya will participate in the Vodacom Cup in South Africa, which will ultimately raise the standard of the game locally.

Chairman Mwangi Muthee must quell the dissent within the KRU, and stop anymore embarrassing gaffes that characterised the Union last year.

The acrimonious Special General Meeting at the RFUEA last year showed how fragile the administration of rugby is, and Mwangi needs to ensure all parties within the Union are made aware that the players come first.

Football

2013 saw unprecedented coverage of local football on our television screens courtesy of SuperSport, with the Kenya Premier League being shown in high definition for the first time.

However apart from that, there was almost nothing Football Kenya Federation Chairman Sam Nyamweya and his team could show that was positive from 2013.

Corruption, hooliganism and the shambolic organisation of last month’s Cecafa tournament showed that the time is up for the ‘analogue’ thinking football officials. As I have mentioned before, it is time for resh, young blood to take over the running of the Federation.

The shambolic Cecafa tournament was an embarrassment to Kenya, and Nyamweya and company must be held accountable.

Hooliganism was out of control, particularly involving Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards –– and the Kenyan public is tired of being held to ransom by a few shameless individuals inside and outside stadiums running amok before, during and after matches.

The scenes witnessed last season are a symptom of what’s gone wrong with society – with the underpowered security employed for the matches looking on helplessly.

Corruption is the single biggest reason why football has struggled to help. This must stop and officials must realise that the game is bigger than them!

Looking Forward in 2014

Sports associations have to look at the bigger picture. In the modern world, solid marketing, revenue generation, image rights and most importantly the players that bring in the fans and businesses should be the priority of the officials that run the organisations.

Unfortunately officials have taken the cue from government politicians and have turned sports associations into their personal possessions.

This must stop and the stakeholders start taking charge of affairs for the lifting of standards on and off the pitch, along with the improvement of sports infrastructure.

— The writer is a sport journalist and runs a consulting firm.

–– [email protected]

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