President Uhuru Kenyatta poses for a photo with Harambee Stars winger Paul Were as defender Brian Mandela looks on at State House, Nairobi. Harambee Stars is the only national team that has benefited with Sports fund this year. Photo/Courtesy

On March 10th 2019, President Uhuru Kenyatta promised that all national teams will be sponsored through the Sports fund.

It was during this year’s Beyond Zero marathon that the President said this. The Sports Fund is a special kitty that raises funds through sports lottery, investments or any other means and disburses the funds for the development of sports.

It has been four months since the President uttered these words but it’s only at the African Cup of Nations that a national team was well taken care of by the government. Harambee Stars, the national football team, received Sh 242 million to prepare for the continental tournament. The government was highly commended for this.

Ever since the government was hailed for sponsoring the Harambee Stars in their quest after African supremacy, other national teams have been complaining they are not sponsored by the Ministry. This contradicts with the promise the president gave back in March.

The Amputees team, for instance, has been completely disregarded by the ministry. Last year they slept outside Sports ministry offices at Kencom plaza and were only provided with air tickets. That was all the Ministry could offer despite the fact that the team was representing the country in the Amputee World Cup in San Juan, Mexico.

After the President made his promise in March this year, the Amputees team thought that finally their hard work and resilience will pay off. They knew that maybe this time around they will put on the nation’s colours after playing their matches last year in ‘Team Sonko’ branded jerseys.

They were wrong again as it was the Nairobi governor was still the one who came to the rescue of the team. This time around they were not going for the World Cup but to a regional tournament in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The team’s full sponsorship was done by Nairobi governor Mike Sonko. Where was the Sports Fund in all this?

Recently, the national basketball team was trending on social media after making it to the finals of the African Cup Tournament. Sadly, the Morans started trending on social media after their semi-final clash with Tunisia; the match which they won to make it to the final.

The Morans travelled to Mali for the tournament courtesy of Sponsorship from Badoer Investments. Badoer Investments signed a sponsorship deal with Kenyan Basketball Federation worth Sh 100 million. Surprisingly, it’s not a Kenyan company but is owned by a Swedish investor Ricardo Badoer who is also the owner of Wazito FC.

The national basketball team pose for a photo outside Nairobi’s City hall after their exemplary performance in the African Cup in Bamako, Mali. Photo/Kevin Namunwa

The team travelled to Mali and back courtesy of well-wishers and still managed to get to the finals. A member of the team sponsored the jerseys which were used by the team during the tournament. When they came back, they were received by Nairobi governor Mike Sonko who gave them Sh 1 million for their exemplary performance. Where was the Sports Fund you might ask?

This week there have been complaints from the Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) and the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) that they are not receiving support from the Sports Ministry. The two bodies are currently preparing for International events.

KHU is not sure whether national men and women’s teams will travel to Johannesburg for the African qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics that start Monday next week owing to lack of adequate funds.

Kenya Lionesses’ participation at the Africa qualifying tournament for Rugby World Cup also hangs in the balance with no reprieve in sight from the government that failed to support the Kenya Simbas in their qualifying campaign for 2019 Rugby World Cup and the National Under-20 rugby team for the World Junior Trophy.

Judging on how the other teams were treated when they were representing the nation, there is a possibility that the hockey and rugby teams will not receive the support they seek.
Where is the Sports Fund? What happened to the promise the president made on 10th March 2019?

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About the Author

Kevin Namunwa is a reporter with Business Today. He is interested in Business, Entertainment, and Sports. You can find him on email at [email protected]

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