- Say that their efforts to mould players go unrewarded
- Vihiga Queens head coach Alex Alumira says coaches spend their personal resources to cater for their players' needs, leaving them penniless
Coaches should come together and form Saccos where they can help one another in times of emergencies. At a personal level, it is also important to have a medical cover as simple as NHIF. It could come in handy during such timesPaul Kemei, athletics coach and owner of Lemotit Athletics Camp in Kericho
In his heydays, Benjamin Ayimba was one of the most renowned names in not only rugby but the sporting world.
His name is etched in history books as the man who led the national men’s Sevens rugby team to their first and only World Rugby Sevens Series title in 2016 at the Singapore Sevens.
This is why his struggle to pay a Sh2 million hospital bill after a long battle with cerebral malaria hurts to the core.
That a rugby legend had to resort to a fundraising to offset a hospital bill goes to show the painful sacrifices local coaches make for the growth of sports.
As various coaches attest, Ayimba’s case is just the tip of the iceberg. Many are wallowing in poverty as their proteges' careers blossom.
Alex Alumira, head coach at Women’s Premier League side Vihiga Queens, says they spend a lot of resources building their players’ careers and are eventually left penniless.
“Too much passion is sometimes detrimental. Most of us, especially ladies’ teams who are rarely paid, spend our resources to cater for their needs. If you are not earning huge sums like our counterparts in Europe, then you will suffer in times of adversity,” he says.
Paul Kemei, an athletics coach and owner of Lemotit Athletics Camp in Kericho, agrees with these sentiments, decrying the huge burden on those working with upcoming athletes.
“Whatever we get, we divert it to the junior athletes because most of them come from humble backgrounds and cannot fend for all their needs. Unfortunately, our efforts go to waste when the athlete eventually realises his or her potential. Many of them are manipulated by other coaches and they forget their roots,” he says.
Though from different disciplines, Alumira and Kemei agree that strong coaches’ associations are the key to improving their welfare.
“Coaches should come together and form Saccos where they can help one another in times of emergencies. At a personal level, it is also important to have a medical cover as simple as NHIF. It could come in handy during such times,” Kemei says.
Alumira proposes more funding for the Kenya Football Coaches Association to enable it to have a greater impact on coaches' welfare akin to that of the Kenya Footballers Welfare Association.
“In addition to that, there is a need for an insurance scheme for the coaches. I have heard of reports of negotiations with an insurance firm to develop such a cover for coaches. I hope that it succeeds,” he says.