|Ban corporate football, Nyamweya!|
|Sunday, 18 December 2011 22:12|
‘Now this is the ultimate death of Kenyan football.’ A journalist posted on his Facebook page when FKF announced stringent measures to streamline organization of football tournaments in the country last week. For beginners, FKF has moved to ban all corporate sponsored football tournaments in Kenya. This means youth tournaments like Safaricom’s Sakata Ball, Coca-Cola’s Copa Coca-Cola and Airtel’s Rising Star among others will be no more. Instead, the football body has directed such firms to work with the football associations under FKF to implement their programs.
Such tourneys have played a major role in spotting, developing and nurturing some of the most brilliant talents we know today in Kenya. They offer what has been elusive in our football development for ages through participation from the lowest possible level. Some great footballers like AbduMalik formerly of Gor Mahia and Harambee Stars were spotted through such events.
To add to the confusion, even politically sponsored tournaments have been blacklisted by the Federation. In a country where football is a political ladder and 2012 being an electioneering year, it would be difficult to effect such deliberations. The upshot is; politicians will not be allowed to sponsor any individual tournaments even in their own constituencies. Isn’t this dictatorship of the highest order?
But let’s look at it from the other angle. Doesn’t Nyamweya have a point? Are we just too harsh in dismissing his point? I foamed at the mouth in disappointment when I read Odindo Ayieko’s story in the Daily Nation about this decision reached by FKF’s Executive Council meeting in Thika. After much reflection I have come to understand Nyamweya’s point.
There’s a reason we have a federation running football in the country. We are trying to do away with so many bodies calling shots in the game ending up confusing the very talent they seek to nurture. Today organizing football tournaments has become populist competitions by corporates struggling to get the biggest of media attention; the more their stories are covered the more they get satisfaction. Evaluation is done on the media attention the tournament got and not on the impact on the youth. Let firms concentrate on marketing their brands and let football federations run football.
It can’t be explained further that corporates should channel the funds to existing structures put at the County, provincial and national levels. The football federation in my county Homa Bay is mandated to oversee the administration of the game in the region while ICIPE only runs the control of insects in the region. The day ICIPE would want to engage the local youth in football it has to seek guidance from the mandated federation. Period!
What ails our football is the pessimism fans have in even new federations as long as they are administrators. Our administrators need the goodwill of the fans first for them to effectively implement policies. We think the administrators are always out to ‘eat’ our money even before we give this money.
I salute institutions that have known this and are pumping funds into community football projects. Brookside Dairies has to be mentioned here for its magnificent role in school sports while UNICEF does a great work establishing talent academies in High Schools. Corporates; support existing structures!
I’m not the PRO for the federation; just a concerned football writer.