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Stadiums without good sports bosses really mean nothing

Last updated 1 month ago | By Clay Muganda

Nyayo National Stadium [PHOTO: COLLINS KWEYU]

In the course of last week, Kenyans were treated to a host of sports-related pronouncements that left a lot to be desired. That was normal because in Kenya’s sporting circles, the only thing that is certain is history repeating itself, and it is always the bad things that recur.

Of course, the management of Kenyan Poverty League is still talking about a continuation of their poverty-worshipping crusade that undermines footballers even as the federation looks on because it is not any different from the clubs when it comes to oppressing players.

“Electing incompetent leaders from the grassroots to the national level in Football Kenya Federation elections is the genesis of recurring problems that bedevil our game. We have failed to elect leaders on merit,” a former national team footballer said on Wednesday.

On the same day, a former FKF head was “smelling a rat” over Football Kenya Federation’s elections after a ruling by Sports Dispute Tribunal (SDT) was stayed further by the High Court which stopped all proceedings against FKF at the SDT.

“It is unfortunate that the sports industry in Kenya has lately been subjected to ridicule by people benefiting from impunity,” a former vice chair of FKF said of the numerous court battles between the federation and other entities.

Such a statement was not surprising because Kenya’s footballing bodies would not exist if it were not for impunity. That is what sustains them.

The lackadaisical way sports issues are handled through loud statements and little action happens at every level of sports mismanagement. Even the State cannot keep a clean sheet.

Several years ago, Kenyans were promised several state-of-the-art and world class – whatever those mean – stadiums in several towns. Three years later when they asked where the stadiums were, they were directed to websites, as if they were expected to download them. It is not easy to tell whether the ones on the internet portal can still be downloaded or the link expired!

Even then, the presence of better stadium or sports infrastructure does not necessarily translate into good results, and Kenyan cricket is a perfect example of how playing grounds do not add up to much. 

Granted, stadiums are extremely important, but of what use are they when there are no strong policies that promote sports and motivate sports persons?

This week, there was another promise of another world class state-of-the-art stadium in Kisumu, at the cost of Sh350 million. It was also reported that the semblance of a stadium that exists in Kisumu will be refurbished and upgraded.

The new one will be managed by Sports Kenya, that lethargic body whose officials spend more on their salaries and attendant expenses than what they make from the existing stadiums that fall under their poor care.

Thus, the statement by the Sports Cabinet Secretary that the new stadium will spur “economic growth in the region” rings hollow unless we are considering that the locals will be hired by the contractors.    

There is little in terms of income that the existing State-managed stadia that fall under Sports Kenya, generate and that calls for Kenyans to have a relook at the job description of the Sports Kenya and if it is delivering.

Economic growth is such a nice term, especially when it is used in the same sentence with sports, but in Kenya, at the end of the day, these sweet words are just but empty promises considering that this “spurred economic growth” has not been experienced around the existing stadiums.

Oh, what is that Sports Kenya does?


-The writer is an Editor at The Standard

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