Kenya: Fasten Your Belts, Tough Times Ahead in Football

Bandari Football Club was heavily affected by the government's suspension of sporting activities in March, and just like after the first ban last year, it will not be easy for the team to post positive results immediately.

Football, and sports in general, is slowly waking up from the coronavirus shutdown. And while some teams were able to sneak into training grounds to maintain fitness, being a government parastatal Bandari could not dare disobey the state directive.

The team was left with an option of engaging in virtual training which did very little to improve players' fitness levels. This played a major role in Bandari's 1-1 draw with Bidco United in the club's first match after resumption of the league at KPA Mbaraki Sports Club last Saturday.

Coach Cassa Mbungo and his technical team must work around the clock to restore players' fitness and morale for the remainder of the season. The main goal remains winning the league title.

Things will, however, not be the same. Players, fans and officials must be ready for the long Covid-19 distruption and its attendant economic crisis.

In particular, loss of clubs' match-day revenue because games will be played behind closed doors. The recruitment department will be hard hit.

Enhance data use

Scouts usually spend much of their time clocking up road and air miles to watch prospective signings in action and the current situation obviously has significant implications for what has been the most important part of the process - the assessment of players in live games.

There is, therefore, great need for introduction of data use and analytics in recruitment owing to the current situation because more and more clubs may have to use data and statistics instead of live scouting.

Playing without fans in stadiums will mean clubs will not earn from gate collections. This is a good reason for the Sports ministry to now think of allowing a few fans in stadiums to spice up the matches and give scouts an opportunity to watch players live as is already happening in top leagues in the world.

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