What you need to know:
- Leadership wrangles and court battles, rather than the sport’s development, dominate.
- A country that was on the verge of gaining Test Playing status is now a pale shadow of its former self.
That the national cricket team is out of the 2022 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup contention after losing to minnows Tanzania and Uganda in Africa Region Qualifier that ended on Saturday in Rwanda is distressing. It’s a manifestation on how bad leadership, lack of planning and incessant wrangles can ruin once-flourishing sports.
Thursday’s stunning 49-run defeat to the Tanzania, which is coached by former Kenya skipper Steve Tikolo, came to haunt Kenya as they lost to Uganda by six wickets in the decisive match at Gahanga International Cricket Stadium, Kigali. That saw Uganda top the four-nation contest with 10 points to grab the only slot for the Global Qualifier due February and May next year. Kenya finished second with eight points.
But the result should not have come as a surprise. The Cricket Normalisation Committee, headed by Justice (Rtd) Joyce Aluoch, is reorganising the local cricket scene to pave the way for elections and end many years of wrangling. The Sports Registrar is ensuring that stakeholders’ registration is done by November 26 so that the elections are held soon. The stakeholders already adopted the new Cricket Kenya constitution.
Since Kenya made it to the Cricket World Cup semi-finals in 2003, the sport has suffered. Leadership wrangles and court battles, rather than the sport’s development, dominate. The national team’s performance has dwindled with players going for long periods without salaries and allowances.
A country that was on the verge of gaining Test Playing status is now a pale shadow of its former self. After losing its One Day International status in 2015, top-flight teams avoided Kenya. The International Cricket Council (ICC) no longer gave them meaningful matches. It sank to ICC Division III in 2018 and failed to qualify for the 2023 Cricket World Cup qualifier.
In August 2019, the ICC halted its annual funding for CK activities, of between Sh60 million and Sh70 million, until a new constitution and office were in place. The new team that will soon take over has ground to cover.