Home > Kenya > Opinion: Kenya looking down the barrel

Opinion: Kenya looking down the barrel

Kenya A have been thrashed by the full, well sort of, Danish team by 7 wkts.  

In the last 1 year, Kenya U19 lost out in the African qualifiers to both Naimbia and Uganda, Kenya A has just finished their Denmark tour with all defeats excepts for 2 victories, one against a second division side by 3 wickets, the other was more convincing, but against weakest team in the Danish premier league. They were thrashed by both Denmark A and the full Denmark team, but the full Denmark team did not need Klokker, M Pederson, C Pederson. Additionally, Kenya senior team drew with the weakened Zimbabwe side 2-2, when they were expected to win that series, and got thrashed by Bangladesh 4-0, though Bangladesh, though showing a once in a blue moon good performance, is still largely what you would call a weak team.

The reason why the performance of the Kenya A and U19 teams is so important is because their senior team is being carried forward by Tikolo, Otieno, Odoyo, Suji etc. Barriing Odoyo who still has 5 years, the others are pushing it at the momment, and it is difficult to see them continuing beyond the WC 2007.

My question is, why this has happenned in perhaps what should have been the best story to come out of associate countries 10 years ago? Tikolo, Odumbe, Otieno, Odoyo and to some extent even M Suji, were all world class players in their heyday. They could have very easily made the test teams of Zimbabwe or New Zealand at that time. In addition to all that, they ended up being in the World Cup semi final with some brilliant performances against Zimbabwe, Sri lanka, Australia and even the qualifer against India. They were outclassed by India in the semi final, but that should have managed to get 20-30 K people interested in the game, and start playing it at least at the recreation level. It looks like that never happenned. People always talk about infrastructure, but look at Nepal and Afghanistan. They have zero infrastructure, much less than Kenya.They only rely on playing numbers, and the level of street and recreational cricket being very high. Afghanistan players that did so well on the tour to England play on portions of paved roads because they didnt even have a full ground. But Kenya has not been able to get to that level in terms of playing numbers. In fact Kenya is at par with Namibia and Zambia in terms of registered players and about 4 times less than Uganda.

Who should one blame for all this? I understand that the cricket board was a corrupt one that ate up all the money, though it was a lot of money, and if there had been a bit of passion for the game, it would not have been that easy to eat up the money. Secondly, I am sure that FIFA gives Kenya a lot more money than the ICC, then why isnt that sport facing the same problems as cricket in Kenya, regarding corruption? The ICC too has to be blamed. With all these good players, Kenya team was a decent product in the last 10 years. ICC should have given them full tours, at least 5 ODI series against Zim and Bangladesh and at least 3 ODI series against other test teams on a regular basis, at least 20-30 ODI games in a year. That would have made the whole season consistent for the Kenyans, would have enabled them to get sponsorship and also regular intake of players from their other sides. But at the momment, it also seems that that time has been lost, and there is little point in still considering Kenya to be the top associate.

Categories: Kenya
  1. July 2, 2006 at 6:25 pm

    Nasir – regards Kenyan soccer and corruption, wake up and smell the coffee. it is in an even worse state, and FIFA have in fact twice suspended Kenya. Kenyan domestic soccer matches used to fill stadia, now they often play to empty stands. Legal battles for control have had an even worse affect than in cricket, which at least is now resolved and moving forward.

    In terms of who to blame for where the cricket is now – three little letters: K.C.A
    We did have a platform after the last World Cup, but it was used to line private pockets. There is not a lot of money in Kenyan sport/supporters pockets, and you can hardly blame people for being disillusioned with a game they percieved as only their to fleece them. It is no surprise few new class players have come through in the last 5 years.

    Cricket Kenya are working hard to set things right, but in reality are starting worse off than if we had never played cricket. Instead of just getting people interested in the game, they have to prove that it is not just a way to take people’s money.

    Are Kenya still the best Associate. No. No question about that.
    Can be become so again in the next five years? I believe so. Uganda’s development program happened under Tom Tikolo who is now in charge of the same in Kenya. The infastructure as you point out is there, so when the players are brought on, they will have somewhere to take their game.

    We are not as good as we were in relation to the others, that is true, but don’t write us off yet either.

  2. Ram
    July 3, 2006 at 11:59 am


    I think the forthcoming 3 ODI series against Bangladesh should give a good account of the current state of Kenyan cricket, both on the field and off it.

    It would be great if you could share any information you have about the following:

    1. Does Cricket Kenya intend to make any money from the forthcoming ODI series against Bangladesh?..Is Cricket Kenya going to price the tickets for the three ODIs or is it going to be free entry, just like the recent Zim-Ken ODIs in Zim?..It should be an achievement of sorts if Cricket Kenya can bring in more spectators to these 3 ODIs than what Zimbabwe manage in the subsequent 5 ODI series.

    2. Also, I wonder why all the 3 ODIs have been scheduled in Nairobi when the ICC recently inspected the venue at Mombasa Sports club?..Cricket Kenya should use these ODIs to spread the game across the length and breadth of the country.

    3. Are there any development/promotional activities planned as part of the ODI series?

    As you rightly pointed out, if Tom can make it happen in Uganda, he can certainly hope to do the same in his own country though the image of Cricket Kenya needs to change. One hopes that the forthcoming ODI series against Bangladesh is the first step in that direction..

  3. July 3, 2006 at 5:39 pm

    Hi Nasir,

    What Kenya needs to show from this series is some improvement from the last one. Even if we lose, but play better and compete, it will be a gain.
    Sadly after Kenya A’s capitulation (another loss against a club side yesterday) in Denmark, I’m not sure if any new faces are ready to be brought in to strengthen the team yet.

    To answer your queries:
    1) I honestly don’t know – I have written to ask, but not yet had any reply. I will post on my blog as soon as I do.
    2) Despite the tour by Proctor, I would expect all three matches to be played at Nbi Gymkhana. I think his visit was more to look at potential grounds for the matches later this year, and early next year. That said, I don’t think it will be too long before we see more matches held at the coast. In terms of spreading the game – They need to get it going agian in Nairobi, then worry about the rest. It would be too early to get a crowd anywhere other than Nairobi or Mombasa. Rift Valley will hold the U15 regional event in August.
    3) Again, I am waiting to find out. All I can say is I hope so.

    Regards Cricket Kenya – give them a chance. They are less than a year old, and have already achieved a lot. It is important to make a distinction between them and the KCA whom they replaced.

  4. July 4, 2006 at 8:57 am


    How come the recreational playing numbers in Kenya never went up after the 2003 performance in the world cup? The ICC had close to 4-5K registered cricketers before 2003 I think, and a 6-7K number right now.

    Did you seen kids playing cricket in the streets after 2003? Because KCAs corruption would have nothing to do with that. Nepal’s cricket body is extremely inefficient, but that doesnt stop kids from playing cricket in the streets over there. Afghanistan hasnt even got the money for schools, forget school cricket programs, and the national cricket body cant even buy a pair of gloves, but the people arent disillusioned about anything as far as taking up the game for recreation is concerned.

  5. July 4, 2006 at 6:50 pm

    Hi Nasir,

    This will be for quite a while where the African sides will be worse off than the Asian sides. The difference is that Afganistan and Nepal are right on the doorstep of huge cricketing cultures. African countries (exclude SA for the moment) are not.
    To be fair though, even soccer is not played as much by kids in the streets compared to many places in the world, it always saddens me that I don’t see kids at home playing much at all in the streets. Where sports are played by kids in Kenya, it is generally through a school system, certainly in the poorer areas. I think this can change, but don’t get all my optimism wrong – it is a long hard road ahead for us.

    Certainly immediately after 2003, there was a raised interest in the game, but it died pretty quickly amongst the wrangles that followed.

    I hope there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and i hope even more that that light is not an oncoming train.

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