February 26th 2018

Sports / In-Depth

Kenya needs selfless sports administrators

Corporate sponsors like SportPesa have also come on board, backing the federations through lucrative partnership deals. But it is disturbing to note that funds from state coffers, the taxpayers money, have been squandered by elected national federations officials.

By David JagongoTuesday, 09 May 2017 18:58 EAT

The decision by the new Confederation of African Football (CAF) President Ahmad Ahmad not to accept a salary from the continental football governing body should prick the conscience of Kenyan sports administrators. ''I have refused a caf salary for the simple reason it doesn't respect good administration'', said the Madagascan whose election in March ended the long reign of Issa Hayatou.

Hayatou, a Cameroonian was also a senior Fifa vice-president, who at one time was the acting FIFA President. He was Caf president for 29 years. “The salaries of all Caf employees, from administrators to the executive committee and president, all have to be transparent,” Ahmad told BBC Sport.

Ahmad shared his plans and thoughts on taking African football to new heights, which includes reviewing the standards of administration in the Caf executive.

Back to Kenya, many are asking themselves if the current crop of Kenyan sports administrators are willing or  have even thought of  forfeiting their, pay, in the event they earn salaries.

Inline image 2
A selfless Confederation of African (CAF) Ahmad Ahmad has forfeited his salary.

Kenya is not that much of a rich economy, the sports industry is not that much established, today sports is not such a big employer, it is by and large a hobby. For the bulk of Kenya's elected sports administrators, sports management at the national level is a part time hobby and is not their main source of  livelihood.

This is happening because Kenyan federations and clubs are yet to explore their potential of  improving their financial base from private sector sponsorship. But this is not to say that there is no money is sports, there is. The sports bodies need money to pay employees and staff at the secretariat.

The biggest benefactor is the government, all national federations seek money from the government whenever gearing up or participating in  international competitions.

Corporate sponsors like SportPesa have also come on board, backing the federations through lucrative partnership deals. Public-Private sector partnership is encouraged by the Government. But it is disturbing to note that funds from state coffers, the taxpayers money, have been squandered by elected national federations officials.

Kenyans know what happened at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. The 'Rio Fiasco' saw  some National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) officials facing fraud and theft charges in Kenyan courts.

We need not dwell much on the Rio debacle, because you and me know what happened in the  Brazilian city, at any rate, the matter is before court.

Its an established fact that a good number of Kenyan sports administrators are either young  or middle-aged ambitious self-seekers who believe sports is a shortcut to wealth creation or retirees who are keeping themselves busy.

While there is nothing wrong with being young and ambitious or a retiree, sports administrators must be driven by the desire to take the sports to new heights and creation of opportunities for those who earn their living through sports.

Incumbent NOCK secretary-general FK Paul will defend his seat at the forthcoming elections.

Kenya does not need individuals who use sports as a platform to politics. Without mentioning names, those who have used sports to ascend to political offices  are well known.

Don't look far, Peter Kenneth is a former Football Kenyan Federation (then Kenya Football Federation) chairman who joined politics serving as Kandara MP, assistant minister, before vying for the Nairobi Governor's seat in the recent party nominations.

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, is a former chairman of AFC Leopards Sports Club, the late Job Omino was a ex-KFF chairman, who became an MP and assistant minister.

Kenneth Matiba was a former KFF chairman, who later represented Kiharu in parliament and served in the cabinet. There are many others. At Government level, Kenya does not need a still-born National Sports Fund or a Sports Kenya, a government sports agency that it does not execute its full mandate.

This country needs a robust national sports fundraising body, capable of seeking funds from the private sector-corporate sponsors.It has the mandate. As the country gears up for the National Olympic Committee of Kenya  (NOCK) elections, the voting delegates should pick their leaders wisely, bearing in mind that NOCK is the biggest non-government sports body in the country.

Wholesale condemnation of the outgoing NOCK executive, on account of the Rio Fiasco is wrong, there are clean and experienced administrators whose services should be retained.

Blending freshblood with experience is good, not only for NOCK but the entire country. By and large elected sports administrators managing national federations and sports clubs are volunteers, who are entitled to operational allowances.

They must however be selfless, transparent and accountable individuals who don't dip their fingers into their organizations' painfully thin kitty. CAF President Ahmad Ahmad has set the ball rolling- he is worth emulating.


Stay Connected