By Odumbe Kute via FB
I see people disappointed that Kenya is not doing very well in Athletics as expected, especially in the 3,000m Steeple chase, a race that we earned the right to patent because we’ve been the best at it for over 50 years.
There’s a reason why some countries are winning over 30 gold medals and sijui how many silver and bronze. They identify talent and shamelessly invest in that talent from a very young age. They invest in training, in equipment, in education even if it means personal tutors, they have psychologists, nutritionists, fitness experts, tactical experts, specific game experts.
And it’s not just in Olympic sports and World Championship sports. They do it in rugby, tennis, gymnastics, football, netball, volleyball. Pick a sport, and you’ll find 7 or 8 year old talents being nurtured in specialist academies.
I was listening to an Arsenal podcast while on a train the other day and they were going through what happens at Hale End, the Arsenal academy where two of Arsenal’s brightest talents – Emile Smith-Rowe and Bukayo Saka started being Arsenal players at the age of 7. Even throughout their primary school days, the schools worked very closely with Arsenal to ensure a balance of attending school and proper professional training. All major clubs have their own academy and talent identification system that have yielded players like Marcus Rushford for United and Mason Mount for Chelsea.
Explain to me what investment Kenya makes in sports and the arts? Proper investment I mean. Not a politician sponsoring a county tournament during an election cycle. And when he gets the microphone at the end of the tournament, they go ahead and insult all the participants by talking about politics, BBI, Tanga Tanga, “It’s your turn to support my bid for Presidency”, sijui The Fresh Prince of Baringo.
Corruption kills everything. Yes, even sport. Leaders and those given the responsibility of being custodians of our promise are more interested in collecting per diems in foreign trips to attend international events with their slay kings and queens slithered into the official entourage. We don’t care about the welfare of our talent, we have no long term and sustainable plan to identify, nurture and support talent. Kenyans pay enough taxers to invest in our talent – for growth, for national pride, for the right to be the best at what we do around the world. The only sport we’re good at – excellent even – is stealing public money and getting away with it – and we currently hold what is probably a world record of stealing 2 billion a day.
And we expect to win sporting events and Olympic gold medals. Ita kuwa premium tears tupu. Enjoy the Olympics but forget any rewards.