- The defunct Kenya Amateur Association must roar back to life and scout for talent.
- Equally, the monster of doping and sleaze at the athletics body must be vanquished by all means.
Sports, just like good music, is universal and has unparalleled power to bring people together.
Few weeks ago, Kenyans got a special treat on the magnetising power of sports when, President William Ruto and Opposition chief Raila Odinga with a coterie of fans thronged Kasarani Stadium to catch the action of Kipkeino Classic.
A day later tongues were wagging when the duo exchanged pleasantries at the VIP stand watching the age-old derby pitting arch rivals AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia at Nyayo Stadium.
Sports of all disciplines have been the glue that kept Kenya together.
I reminisce at the run up to the general election, Kenyans from both opposing political sides emphatically spoke in one voice as they rooted for Kenyans staking out in the Tokyo Olypics. The indescribable joy and glee of watching patriots hoist the name of Kenya higher in global stage is incredible.
In the Tokyo edition, marathon was slated last discipline of the tournament and it helped that the greatest marathoner of all times Eliud Kipchoge was gunning to retain his title in a sweltering hot temperature in the Japanese capital.
Predictably, Kenyans stayed all night long to watch and cheer the world champions.
With Kenya back to playing international football following the lifting of the ban imposed by world governing body (Fifa), the onus is now with the Football Federation together with football stakeholders to put in whatever mechanisms to ensure fans throng stadiums and shore up the football standards.
By leveraging the power of sports, Kenya cannot only become a sporting powerhouse, but can rake in a billion dollars though the unrivalled sporting acumen the country wields.
Ironically, despite the immense latent talents the youth from across the country boasts, English elite football commonly known as the Premier League remains a common staple in Kenyan living rooms and entertainment joints.
The joint bid the three East Africa Community states to host the continental football tournament, CAF, in 2027 couldn’t have come at a better time.
The tournament shall bring better to the EAC from political capital, economic stability, regional integration and talent export. Additionally, the sporting infrastructure that lays in ruins and abject dilapidation will be revamped and in the long-term help in developing and sharpening the talents in the region.
It is disheartening that after close two decades, the Kenya Sevens rugby team, Shujaa, were relegated from the prestigious International Rugby Circuit. No team commanded colossal fanfare and dexterity than the Shujaa across all the legs in the circuit.
The team with their spontaneity, versatility and poise would awe and entertain sports enthusiasts by playing their socks and souls out. The Shujaa — at their apex — epitomised everything good and beautiful about Kenya. The grit and steely determination were palpable at every pass, run, tackle and try.
The long arduous road to the IRB circuit must begin in earnest. New officials at the helm of Rugby Union led by Sasha Mutai must lay a firm foundation and inject confidence to the team to get its mojo back. Sound leadership and good corporate governance will be key in wooing back corporates who vanished at the whiff of graft and underhand deals.
The same can be said about the athletics and other federations capable of producing world superstars. The defunct Kenya Amateur Association must roar back to life and scout for talent. Equally, the monster of doping and sleaze at the athletics body must be vanquished by all means.
Ministry of Sports must compel all federations to establish elaborate structures and robust academies to act as consistent feeders to the senior and national teams.
The World Rally Cross Country Championships taking place in the month of June presents yet another golden opportunity to showcase Kenya’s magnificent flora and fauna, wildlife heritage, delicious cuisine, great music, rich culture and phenomenal diversity.
The rally, touted as the toughest and most gruelling in the world, will spike the bookings in booming Naivasha and Nakuru hospitality industry will be a shot in the arm for the economy showing signs of recovery.
Indeed, sports can be a viable and most effective tool to push for clean living away from drugs and substance abuse that has devastated lives and threatens to wipe out generations.
The discipline demonstrated by sportspeople in the energy-sapping training and the actual arena speaks to the need to employ sports a means to entrench values and virtues to the population. This is especially the youth who have a knack to be mesmerised by shortcuts to get rich overnight.
It would be imperative for the ministries of Environment and Education alongside all climate crusaders to infuse sports in the quest to plant the 15 billion trees and ward off the menacing threat of climate change. This way, everyone will bask in glory as a winner and lead a healthier peaceful nation.
Kericho senator and Senate Majority leader