Officials fault government, unending wrangles for cricket national team’s dismal performance

Thursday, June 30th, 2022 11:00 | By
Kenya’s batman Alex Obanda in action for the national team against Hong Kong during a past international match at the Nairobi Gymkhana grounds. PHOTO/ Alex Njue

A section of cricket officials have come out to call for an end to government interference and several court cases, to allow the sport recover from it’s ‘death bed’.

This comes in the backdrop of the national men team’s dismal performance against teams that were considered under dogs.

Kenya recently lost to neighbours Uganda by seven wickets and were also beaten by Hong Kong by five wickets.

“It’s very embarrassing for Kenya to lose to teams like Uganda and Hong Kong. There is a time that we were also beaten by Nigeria. Remember this is the same Kenya that beat test nation Pakistan sometime back, now we cant even ask Pakistan for a friendly,” said Nairobi Province Cricket Association (NPCA) Secretary General Narendra Patel.

He added: “Our main problem started in 2018 when embattled chairman Jackie Jan Mohamed resigned. This created a vacuum and forced Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed to form an 12-man Interim Committee that was in charge of the sport for three months and came out with an acceptable draft committee, just for the CS to form a Normalisation Committee that battered the amended committee and introduced several controversial clauses.”

Currently, the new Cricket Kenya team that was elected during the April 26 elections are yet to start their work owing to four ongoing court cases barring them from assuming their new duties.

And with the current confusion, it is believed that members of the Normalisation Committee whose mandate had elapsed, are the ones running the show and a section of them even accompanied the team for the international matches in Uganda.

Sport’s Act

“The Sports Act has messed up literally all sports in the country. First it was cricket, now it’s football and swimming is following suit. Cricket can be developed, but it takes time to develop it, not using the forceful measures witnessed,” Patel told People Sport.

He added: “We need the government to keep off cricket affairs and all the persons who have filed court cases to withdraw them so that we can start rebuilding the sport again. Currently it’s the players and the sport in general losing the most, we even failed to take part in the under 19 competition for the second year in a row and the sport has now gone for 15 years without a sponsor.”

NPCA chairman Kanti Rabadia called for the reviewing of the constitution to address key issues that ‘cannot be avoided.’

“It’s a plain fact that 95 per cent of cricket in Kenya is played in Nairobi. We have 15 cricket grounds with 36 teams in Nairobi, how do you expect Nairobi to have the same voting rights as Counties like Kilifi, Lamu and Kwale where there is now cricket ground and no cricket being played?” posed Rabadia.

He added: “We have been moving one step forward and two back wards. If these issues are not addressed urgently then we will soon be banned by International Cricket Council (ICC) or be relegated further to even Division Three, yet in 2014 we were playing in Division One and would get Sh142 million (1.2 million dollars) annually from ICC.

“We need to stop the wrangles, stop government interference then review the constitution to fix the counties issue, affiliations and voting rights, then we can strive to revive this beautiful sport.”

Other officials present at the function yesterday were Thota Sreenivas and Vishal Bhojani.

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