Patriotism v/s Exploitation
Kenya Basketball Federation, led by none other than Mr. Paul Otula. What is happening in Rwanda? Having gone for the All-African Games qualifiers, the teams (both men and women) were seen to be likely to qualify for the continental games to be held in September this year in Maputo, Mozambique.
Before leaving there was a statement made that the national teams training would not be entitled to daily allowances which are usually mandatory for players for engaging their services. For most of these players, there are no regular sources of income and such a declaration would be clearly break the morale of the team.
Getting to Rwanda and the teams do not have official kit for training and have to borrow from their hosts. Also there is no team doctor ( totally suicidal given the physical toll that the game takes on players). All over sudden all hell breaks lose and the team captains ( Ben Oluoch and Angela Luchivya) are handed an indefinite ban for allegedly pushing internal revolt and boycott from the players. From unconfirmed sources, one of the reason was that the players were getting a daily allowance of KShs.500 ( around $6.25). Even if its is patriotism, this is a pittance for national duty. Then follows a unilateral withdrawal of the Federation from the qualifiers as a way of seeking to cover the underlying issues instead of addressing them ( though the Kenya National Sports Council had to intervene and ask the teams to continue playing).
What is wrong with these sports officials? If you had no funds going into national camp, it wouldn't hurt to appeal for funds from the locals. It would also be better to clearly outline the trip's difficulties in good time in case any player wants to withdraw their participation. Clearly it's not too much to ask, but when shall you take the game to another level?
|Co-op Bank v/s KCB Lions 2010, photo courtesy of www.michezoafrika.com|
If the end of the season was anything to go by, we are not entirely suprised by the happenings in Rwanda. The men's playoff finals were a sham. Game 3 had to be abruptly stopped with the claim that one of the team's fans (KCB Lions) were going to disrupt the game and cause physical harm to referees officiating the game. Some of the players from the two teams ( the other was regular play-off contenders Co-op Bank) are in the national team of course, this time representing national interest.
But for a Federation not able to organise its own house, it is not for the Commissioner of Sports to call them to order. There have been claims of maintaining the status quo, but even then, there is nothing much to show. How many basketball courts have they been able to build? How many teams are currently playing in the national and formerly provincial leagues? Does the Federation have a plan of what they want the game to be now, in 1 year, 5 years? Having a senior FIBA official from the continental body ( by the name of Maurice Aluanga who was once KBF Chair), what synergies has the Federation sought to build the local game?
Someone needs blow the whistle on this situation before we lose the game and it becomes a by-gone era. Anyone courageous enough to call it as it is?
You can follow the local basketball scene here, www.kenyahoops.wordpress.com