Tuesday, 8 May 2007
As I write this,it pains me a lot to see a sport which has so much potential and appeal go slowly almost sinking into oblivion. What happens with Kenyan sports? Is it the audience that gets bored so quickly ? Is it the officials who are lethargic to change (hence maintain the status quo)? Or is it lack of support and sustainability mechanisms which make this happen?
I've looked at a couple of sporting disciplines and the same line keeps repeating itself....We're unable to continue supporting the team(s)/league/federation..hence our withdrawal from the sport ....
Last week's story about Telkom's and Ulinzi sudden dissolution from the Kenya Basketball Premier League added another epitaph to the crowded scene that is the 'grave'of Kenyan sports. This means that two of the top-tier teams have left without much ado from the League.
If I'm not mistaken, last year there was the withdrawal of Coke-Kenya's sponsorship of the men's team. I'd also think there was another team that was dissolved for the same reasons. What is wrong ?
I'd look at this from three different points;
1. Fan base
2. Private support(vis-a vis Government intervention)
3. Federation's role.
1. Fan-base: Most sports anywhere in the world need fans to be able to get some sort of income from their operations. Be it live action or pay-per-view this means there has to be a fan base. What incentives are there for a fan intending to watch a live game at the Nyayo National Gymnasium in a game e.g. between Mennonites and Postbank ?
Are there any improvements or additional activities that can be added to make it possible for me to look forward to a game of basketball either at Nyayo or any of our TV channels in Kenya ? Answer YES.
2. Private support(Government intervention): Most private firms(read companies here) invest a lot in their companies. This is in terms of manpower, IT and also in PR and marketing. What better way would it be to have not just a sporting complex but also a team in most of the disciplines? This will not only give the company much-needed public awareness but the employees will be able to harness their skills not just at their work-places but in the fields of play too. It also will reduce the advertising and publicity budget substantially (i.e. especially so for winning teams).
It should also be noted that for an investor(both private or public) to be able to make a return, some initial capital must be put in. This would be the case in building of sports complex, stadia, gymnasiums, play fields among others. There must be specialised training in all sectors not just in the field but also in management of the teams and resources.
3. Federation's role: It is the responsibility of the Federation ( or Association/Union) to see to it that they have a successful league or framework under which it works and runs its affairs in. No reasonable person wants to be associated with failure. It is also the duty of the same to ensure that all branches of the main organisation are working and are active enough.
This makes it possible to detect any problems or suspect moves that may ruin the organisation's goals. It would also be prudent to welcome views not just of the public, but outsiders, stakeholders and other interested parties to be able to carry out a transparent review both internally and in the eyes of the public.
That's my take on this.
I would be willing to offer more insights on the same at a later date but I'd be jumping the gun on ongoing work. Keep here for more on this !