Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Hockey sticks: Up in arms

India's Visit to Kenya -1947
One of Kenya's favourite sport back in the day when the Asian and Sikh communities were actively involved in sport has clearly 'lost wood'. Looking at what happened to the youth team which ought to be Kenya's future at Cairo, we need redemption !
This was one of the sport disciplines which Kenya got representation first in the 1956 Olympics and in 5 other occasions the last one being the 1988 Seoul Olympics. This is after an excellent performance crowning Kenya with gold at the All-Africa Games held in Nairobi in 1987.
Back to our current times ! The Kenyan hockey team had been invited to take part in the African under-21 championships. As such a team was hastily put up for both ladies and men and the officials managed to secure air tickets to Cairo.
What they hadn't communicated was that the players would get a measly KShs.250(approx.$3.50) per day allowance (including training days which they had not received anything). The young players were outraged and decided to boycott the matches much to the chagrin of the officials and thus embarrassing them in front of their hosts.
This led to a quick flight back and the first agenda of the officials was to quickly suspend the perceived ring-leaders leading to 2-year suspensions of 10 players.
Much will be said by the officials about the youth behaving badly, but as has been the trend in other sports, I'm even suprised they boarded the plane to Cairo.
We have not learnt to plan and invest in our sports people and when push comes to shove we're always running to the Government for this and that.
What happened will be a stain in hockey's future as not many will be willing to be sacrificial lambs by ruthless and rudderless officials.
Where are the Akatsas , Otambos and Matharus of yesteryears ?
Kenyan hockey needs their hands !

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