Kenya: Cash Crunch Stretches Sports Federations to Breaking Point

From left: KHU president Nashon Randiek, KRU Director John Kilonzo, FKF president Nick Mwendwa, KRU chairman Oduor Gangla and AK Nairobi branch chairman Barnaba Korir in Hurlingham, Nairobi on October 17 2019.
18 October 2019

Kenya sports federations have threatened to take to the streets to demand for funding from the Government which they accuse of neglecting national teams.

After desperate attempts to reach out to the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts, a gathering of the federations that met on Wednesday evening are now pleading with President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene.

Earlier this year, Kenyatta urged the board of the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund to expedite funding of teams to ensure they thrive.

"We need to revive sports and the arts. We ought to motivate young people through adequate resourcing. I urge the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund Oversight Board to build strong national teams through adequate funding," he said when he met the board chaired by former VP Moody Awori.

Sports federations are blaming the Ministry of Sports for frustrating their efforts to get funding for national teams. National women rugby team Kenya Lionesses recently qualified for 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games, but there is nothing to smile about.

Captain Philadelphia Olando was almost reduced to tears when she explained the team's financial crisis when they returned from Tunisia.

"We can't train for only a month and expect to do well against a team like South Africa which prepares throughout the year. What we are going through is very demoralising," she said.

WITHDRAW TEAM

Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) CEO Sylvia Kamau says they might be forced to withdraw the Lionesses from the Olympics as well as stop activities of the Kenya 7s and 15s.

"We followed due process when we sent a budget of Sh194 million for Shujaas, Lionesses and Simbas teams. It was approved in April but to date we have only received a paltry Sh3.3 millions," said Kamau.

"Last month after a game against Zimbabwe in Nakuru PS Kirimi Kaberia promised our 15s players that they would clear the balance, but nothing has happened. What's the use of the Sports Fund if it cannot take care for teams?" She asked.

YET TO GET MONEY

In football, the situation is not any different. Football Kenya Federation (FKF) are yet to receive any more funding from the Government after Afcon 2019.

They got Sh240 million to prepare for the tournament but nothing after that. Harambee Starlets are on the verge of qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics but have not been paid allowances from last year. They face Zambia next month while Harambee Stars play Egypt in an Afcon 2021 qualifier.

FKF president Nick Mwendwa said this will not happen without funds.

"We followed all proper channels to request for cash for Chan 2020 qualifiers against Burundi and Tanzania, Starlets' Olympic qualifiers, upcoming Afcon 2021 qualifiers and also the upcoming Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup but received no cent," he told Nation Sport.

With at least eight months to the 2020 IAAF World U-20 championship set for Nairobi, Athletics Kenya is also crying foul. AK Nairobi branch chairman and director in charge of Youth and Development Barnaba Korir said a Sh81 million budget was sent in good time but no response was forthcoming. The story is the same in other sports.

PS Kaberia blamed federations for failing to follow guidelines when seeking cash for national teams. However, federations disagreed.

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