Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Which way forward ?

More than one month into their election, the KBF officials have had a studious silence about the way forward for the sport. This is essentially one of the most dormant sport given its appeal to the audiences and wider market. But from the many ups and downs in the last 5 years, a revolution is needed in the sport.
I went for the Play-offs last season and boy,was it disappointing or what ? Just like football and most other sports, this discipline needs exposure, financial muscle, fans and the much-needed technical expertise.
Well, a good start will be for Kenya Basketball Federation officials to run the office transparently and efficiently. I'm made to understand that accounts for the last 2-3 years have not been released and with the new officials on board, nothing much will happen on that front. So if there are any corporates willing to come on board, that already will be a Herculean task to convince them of having their money's worth in the sport.
Another pressing issue is venues. As of now, Nyayo National Stadium Gymnasium and Kasarani Complex seem to be the more better developed courts. A couple of universities have good grounds to host games but there would be a problem with crowd management as most are meant for training and exhibition games. This infrastructure needs to be developed not just in Nairobi but nationwide. Again, sponsors and other worthy instituions can develop these.
Of concern too would be the technical aspect of the game, both for the players and the referees. When you watch most of the supposed top flight games at the Nyayo Gymnasium, you get the feeling you're watching a street game or worse a practice session of a high school team from the US. Much skill is wasted when players feel like they can start showing off their moves which they've seen from the NBA and Collegiate League on ESPN and European Leagues.
The game also needs develop exchange programmes and this can start simple with major African playing nations such as Angola, Nigeria and Egypt. These countries can be used as launching pads to bigger and wider nets in Europe such as Spain, Greece, Bosnia and also have such programmes with US colleges and ambitiously NBA teams.
I was reading some report which has seen NBA identify South Africa as one of its next point of focus for its global outreach programme. This is massive in terms of revenues, exposure of the country, exposure for the players as well as feeder programmes for the NBA Players and TV rights market. Just imagine what that will mean for sport in Africa.These guys think global man !
I don't see why Kenya can't focus on being the next point of focus say in 5 or so years !

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