Tough choices await new sports minister
Kenyans are waiting for President William Ruto to appoint his Cabinet. For sports fans, the main focus will be on the choice of the Sports Cabinet Secretary.
Just like most ministries, the one dealing with sports which is a multi-million dollar industry, is overly critical and especially given that the country is a globally respected sporting powerhouse.
We expect the new Sports CS to have his or her in-tray full in dealing with the deficiencies of a number of disciplines. There is unanimity that Kenya’s football requires urgent resuscitation.
Concerns over corruption are responsible for throwing Kenya in trouble with the world governing body, Fifa, which suspended the country over what it described as government interference in the sport after it disbanded Football Kenya Federation (FKF) over graft. Kenyan footballers who eke out a living from the sport have been suffering since the ban largely because of the standoff between the ministry and Fifa. That is why dialogue with Fifa will be key in reaching consensus and it is prudent that the government appoints a CS who will end the ongoing stalemate.
It is hoped that the new minister will be a person who shall draw up new plans to develop sports and mainly focus on players’ and coaches’ benefits to get the desired results to help the Ruto government realise its manifesto. Away from football, while there has clearly been a remarkable success in athletics, the insatiable appetite by our runners to change nationality and represent foreign countries where there are better returns will continue to haunt us for years to come unless there is strategic intervention.
First, there is an urgeny need to streamline the Athletics Kenya (AK) which has never held elections for more than a decade.
The National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) leadership is also a great concern with officials recycling themselves owing to the fact that the structure of their elections favours the incumbent. In the recent past, the ministry remuneration in cash all medallists at global championships. However, the temptation by our athletes to change allegiance will not stop any time soon unless and until the government firmly addresses their plight. We believe it can by ibkecting more perks in the senior and junior ranks. However, such rewards should not be confined to athletics only but other disciplines as well if we are to get the best from our sportsmen and women.