The threat by sports federations to hold demonstrations to compel the government to support national teams indicates the mess in the management of games. Football Kenya Federation (FKF), Athletics Kenya, Kenya Hockey Union (KHU), Kenya Table Tennis Association and Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) argue that their national teams are suffering neglect and attempts to resolve vexing matters have proved futile.
FKF, for example, says it has not received any funding, other than some Sh240 million for the national team’s preparation and participation in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon). Harambee Stars are gearing for the 2021 Afcon qualifier while Harambee Starlets are going on with their 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifiers.
KHU only received air tickets for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifiers campaign three months ago in South Africa, but the players have not been paid their allowances.
KRU has not received any support for Kenya Simbas’ qualifier last year for the ongoing Rugby World Cup, Under-20 team’s Chipu campaign at Africa Under-20 and World Junior Trophy in Argentina.
The women’s rugby team, Kenya Lionesses, have gone through three major events without any support.
The preparations for the World Under-20 Championships in athletics are alarmingly slow, with no mechanism for identifying athletes to compete at the event.
The Sports ministry has to resolve the afflictions of the federations. The Sports Act enjoins the government to fund national teams.
A Sports Fund was formed to cater for that but it appears there is duplication of roles between the Sports Fund and Sport Kenya.
This has to be resolved urgently, but the federations must also follow the right channels while seeking funds.
They should also explore other avenues for raising cash, including sponsorships, rather than relying solely on the government.
Moreover, the federations’ accounts should be audited to ensure transparency in use of public funds. Most federations are havens for corruptions and looting. Right now, Fifa is seeking explanation on what happened to the grant it gave FKF to purchase OB Vans.