If theres anything to learn from Mariga’s recent windfall is how sports can transform in almost an overnight a humble livelihood to a well to do one. Now that he earns tenfold more than our MPs, I was expecting that our MPs, guided by their boundless greed would revive Bunge FC with the selfish ambitions of being signed at record fees by Manchester City and the like; I hope they read my mine sooner.
Our sports bodies have for long been in a state of perpetual limbo, with the players bearing the brunt of a corrupt cabal of leaders. It is rather sad that the kind of politics that is exercised in the national arena is replicated in the management of sports. The effect has been a dysfunctional sports system that has costed the country in terms of Foreign Direct Investment and missed opportunities..if what happened to Mariga’s is anything to go by. What needs to be done?…My three pronged solutions for the situation would be:
First we need to entrench also in our Educational Curriculum the importance of sports and the idea that it can be pursued as a career in itself. This should go a long way in sensitizing the parents that it’s not only through books that we can succeed in life. I for instance would have been a brilliant football striker were it not for the tongue lashing I got from my mother to stop wasting my study time to things that won’t amount to much in my later years.
Secondly there needs to be a talent management system whereby resources are set aside to identify and nurture talent at a tender age. This should entail youth programs that will ensure there is an endless stream of talent at national levels at all times.Mathare Youth Sports Association(MYSA) is a perfect case in point on how such a system can be run. Their model is fruitful in the sense that they have form partnerships with countries like Norway to enable international exposure for the sportsmen. This model needs not necessarily be confined to soccer as I believe Kenya is full of youthful exuberance that needs tapping.
Thirdly and most importantly we need to instill some sense of responsibility and selflessness in the way all our sports bodies are managed, ofcourse save for Rugby and Cricket that have been promising. The government should crack the whip on errant officials and take the systems through a cleansing process that will rid it of governance shortcomings. Even if this will invite short-term bans from international competition.
It hurts me to see countries that are far behind Kenya in terms of development but have shown remarkable performance. Take Benin and Burkina Faso for instance, these are small relatively poor countries compared to Kenya but has exhibited good performance in soccer due to good sports management. It’s my believe if we implement the above measures we might be able to redeem our sports and by extension bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.
That’s all ……*with a Meryl Steep Accent