Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Kenya Basketball Federation Elections - Let the will of the People prevail

One of Kenya's lacklustre sports bodies the Kenya Basketball Federation is scheduled to have its elections sometime later this month. Coming from a forgettable tenure will be the current chair one Mr. Paul Otula who doubles up as a principal of a leading national school.
Along with other officials Vice-Chair Henry Shihemi another school administrator, Vitalis Gode and Joseph Amoko, this group of officials have seen a steady decline in the sport since coming into office 4 years ago.
While many of the sports bodies collect this and that accolade at the annual gala awards organised across the country, the Federation has not been able to put forward a show to win any accolade or have a similar award system for its very best.

Poor Show
While some may say that there have been slight improvements thanks to the Friday Night Basketball games, much remains to be seen on how it has improved the players' and indeed the game's lot.
The concept of weekend night games is itself a noble one though KBF has not acted upon it and owned it fully resulting in more entertainment than basketball core values being upheld.
Away from this, the Kenya Premier League which is the highest level of play of the game has not seen any competitiveness and the play-offs have continued to attract the same old teams for the longest time. Also heavy on the toll is the lack of quality sides promoted from lower rungs of the Nairobi Basketball Association ( aptly known as NBA).
Basketball has also not been able to attract any major sponsor be it for the overall league or for some of the tournaments held across the country. While the efforts of its Marketing wing ( which coincidentally works on an ad hoc basis and is not fully empowered by the Federation). In fact one of the largest failings of the current team in office is the lack of commercial foretaste for the game's development.
A lot of attention is played to the high school and universities leagues which are more or less sustained by extra-curricular funds paid by the students attending those institutions, so no plus for revenue for KBF. A lot of talent is wasted here and this could be moved to the clubs and teams playing at the provincial and national leagues.
Affiliations to international bodies such as AIBA, FIBA have not been taken advantage of and this has seen little or no investment in the local game.
Last year's participation of the ladies team at the All-Africa Games was riddled with controversy after some players being dropped and others not being paid their allowances most of which had been released by the GoK. Parliamentary Committee on Sports is currently questioning the Maputo All-Africa Games Kenyan top brass officials on this and other controversies. 

With the upcoming elections, delegates will need to consider potential officials with the following;
  • Commercialisation - for the longest time, we have sung this song about sports not being an amateur thing anymore and the need to commercialise it. Be it through single-sourced sponsors or partnerships with leading corporates, any sport CANNOT and WILL NOT survive without added revenues. Coca-Cola Kenya has made entreaties through the Spriteball tournaments, work something out that will deliver a win-win for both brands.
  • Media appreciation - we have seen what the media can do to such sports disciplines as football, rugby and cricket locally. Though not fully exploited, there is marked difference and the games are all the better for it. Cultivate a healthy relationship with the media and you shall live to see the fruits. We have seen the Nigerian Basketball Federation games screened on DSTv, why can't we have the same from Kenya next?
  • Full-time officials - no offense to the current officials but if they were full time officials running the sport, there would be more attention paid to it. The comforts of the other jobs make it impossible to deliver on your mandate.
  • Revamp the League - while there seems to be a semblance of a National League, the reality is far from it. If you look carefully, 80% of the teams are originally from Nairobi, with 1-2 from Mombasa and one maybe from Kisumu. With the country having 47 counties in the new disposition, change the lower rung leagues to have teams from at least half of these counties which would then qualify for the national league.
  • Better Use of Affiliation - it saddens to hear that one of African Basketball officials is a Kenyan yet we have not enjoyed much from the continental front. While it may not be his mandate to favour where he comes from, Kenyan officials can at least make an effort and challenge them to engage with the sport here.  Same goes for FIBA.
Another concern is the use of delegates' method. This is one of Kenya's and indeed many a sports bodies weakness in electing top officials. We all know of how the delegates are put up in some nice location and 'gifts' exchanged before the D-day when they go to rubber-stump the 'chosen ones'. We hope this is not the case and that the will of the people who love and dedicate their efforts to the growth of the game.

{Disclaimer: While we may have named the top officials in this post, our task is not to abuse or seek to tarnish their person in any way. The critique is purely on their mandate for the game of basketball in Kenya}


Mr Kaki L.M Muniafu said...

2012...removal of these officials has been long overdue.In my opinion,it is time for drastic changes on the Kenya basketball scene.recycling of the same unproductive guys needs to stop.Bring in new faces with a fresh and motivated work ethic.That is the only way foward.

SportsKenya said...

A couple of quiet supporters of the game feel the same way you do Mr.Muniafu. Hope the game finds its transition into better times. It should be every sports enthusiast's wish!