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February 20, 2019

Kenya’s tour hitch: National team’s SA build-up tour hangs in the balance over lack of funds

Kenya cricket team coach Steve Tikolo
Kenya cricket team coach Steve Tikolo

Kenya’s participation in this year’s Africa Twenty20 Cup in South Africa has been plunged into doubt after Cricket Kenya failed to secure funds.

The government appointed Interim committee, which has partly been running the affairs of cricket in the country after massive resignation of top CK officials, was yet to secure funds to cater for the air tickets and players allowances by yesterday evening. The interim committee led by chairperson Palli Sehmi has failed to convince their bankers to release funds for the tour which is set to begin this evening.

The bankers have refused numerous attempts to have the signatories changed after treasurer Ravi Kaul resigned last month. Kaul was the third high ranked official at CK to quit after chairperson Jackie Janmohammed and Raja Sarkar resigned in April following Kenya’s disastrous show at the World Cricket League Division Two tournament in Namibia.

With the resignation of Kaul, the interim committee has been trying to convince CK bankers to have former national team bowler Edward Tito Odumbe, a member of the committee become a signatory but that has not bored fruits thus putting the South Africa tour in limbo. Sources familiar with CK affairs, said the interim team was finding it hard to have one of them become a signatory as it’s only the CK Annual General Meeting that can approve a new signatory. However, Sehmi has blamed NPCA officials for allegedly colluding with the bank to make it difficult for him to access the money.

“It’s obvious that some individuals have gone out there and requested that the CK accounts be frozen. I don’t know why they are doing this and how it’s going to help them,” Sehmi said. However, NPCA chairman Tom Tikolo, who has been against the formation of the interim committee, exonerated his association from the blame, saying whatever was happening was logic and the interim committee has to abide with it.

“Everybody knows what needs to be done for things to get back to normal. Blaming NPCA or individuals will not help in solving any matter. As far as I am concerned, those behind the current situation in running of cricket matters know what needs to be done,” Tikolo said. Last month, the players and staff of CK had to wait for over a week before getting their dues.

Sources also confirmed that Sehmi had to bail out the team from his own pocket in securing the visas to South Africa. After the conclusion of the Africa T20 Cup, Kenyans were to remain in South Africa to play 50-over warm-up matches against KwaZulu-Natal Inland and the South African Academy respectively.

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