Let’s take sport seriously

In a few days, a new executive shall be in place, hopefully, after next week’s General Election. In the run-up to polls, however, sport hasn’t featured prominently on campaign platforms, only mentioned, in passing, in flattering manifestos.

But as has been the case in previous elections, politicians flatter to deceive and seldom deliver on numerous promises made to the country’s anxious, long-suffering sportsmen and women. For instance, we were promised five new stadiums, among other goodies, by the outgoing administration, but not even one got off the ground in their two terms.

To their credit, President Kenyatta’s administration indeed fulfilled their pre-election pledge to get the Safari Rally back onto the World Rally Championship calendar after a 19-year hiatus. As we approach a new dispensation, it’s our sincere hope that whichever administration takes over government corrects historical injustices, and gets us back on track in as far as the management and development of sport is concerned.

Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed’s reign at the Sports Ministry has been a chequered one with the high being the Safari Rally’s comeback and low Kenya’s suspension from global football by Fifa. A bigger vote to sports by the Exchequer and the renovation of some stadiums has also been a plus.

Reinstating Kenyan football and the completion of Eldoret’s Kip Keino Stadium alongside Elgeyo Marakwet’s Kamariny Stadium should, obviously, be high on the next administration’s list of priorities besides reining in errant sports administrators and tackling the doping scourge. Management flaws continue to frustrate Kenyan sport as has been seen at the ongoing Commonwealth Games in England where we entered just one athlete in the women’s marathon on Saturday while another athlete missed out on the men’s race following a mix-up in registration.

We celebrate Margaret Muriuki and Michael Githae for striking silver and gold, respectively, in Saturday’s marathons and wish the remaining Kenyan competitors all the best.

Meanwhile, the financial burden in sports development should not rest solely on the Treasury. County governments must come up with solid sports programmes in their five-year development plans.

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