CAPTION: Paul Otula is an 8-4-4 teacher. We don’t need individuals who helped entrench a rotten education system, running key institutions.
It’s indeed a great catastrophe to have one of retarded teachers that have perfected the art of intimidating students under the guise of “teaching” running a sensitive institution such as the Kenya Basketball Federation. Otula has overseen the death of basketball in the country, and the sport which has the potential to engage hundreds of youth, has gone down the drain, thanks to the 8-4-4 mentality that he has championed as a teacher and principal.
It is a great thing as an athlete to see other sportsmen and women excel in their fields. You admire their spirit to thrive, compete, conquer, and excel. Rugby, volleyball, hockey, athletics among other sports are doing well locally, in the region and internationally. I don’t need to talk about those sports because their achievements are not debateable. Our focus is on basketball. All those sports have come from far and have had to make sacrifices and hard choices to create something to stand the test of time and to benefit other generations of sportsmen and women. That is the true spirit of sports should be. However, there has been a stagnation in the Kenya basketball federation and the game of basketball in general. The situation is so bad I am having a hard time deciding where and what to start with.
The league has been in existence for a long time but it has witnessed little growth ever since. It has not diversified or changed in any way. For a national league, one would expect a high standard of doing things but it is no different from a high school league. There is gross mismanagement of the league in every way. Let me start with the structure of the league.
Currently there are three leagues. The premier league, division 1, division 2. All these teams pay an average of 40,000 Ksh and it is higher for division 1 and the premier league. It will be prudent at this point to investigate the exact number of teams in each league and the amount they pay. In the 2014 league year, DSTV sponsored the event which to some extent inspired the players and introduced a sense of pride to the game because there were incentives.
The winners of division one and the premier league each received 500,000 thousand and 1,000,000 Kenya shillings respectively. Moreover, some of the games showed on DSTV. This was a step towards the right direction but that was the only time such ever happened. Other than the premier league, ZUKU tried to get involved with basketball in Universities by coming up with a university league which would be televised. It was country wide. The idea was impeccable to say the least but they entrusted it to the wrong hands. They involved basketball federation officials who mismanaged money to the tune of 50,000,000 Ksh. The next year, ZUKU pulled out their sponsorship and the league was gone.
Just like the Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association which has become a vehicle for perpetuating corruption, the Kenya Basketball Federation has been choked by 8-4-4 trained teachers, who have entrenched institutional-mediocrity that’s associated with the sterile brains of former President Daniel Arap Moi, who used these pathetic teachers to dumb-down an entire generation.
Corporates have seized the moment and colluded with these bogus teachers masquerading as sports experts, to sponsor their shady tournaments and get commissions from the sponsorships. The annual tournaments held under the banner of the Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association (KSSSA) have nothing to show after over twenty years in operation, as no significant talents have emerged, and neither have their leagues offered an alternative for students to venture into sport as a career, both as athletes and managers, as it happens in places like the US.
Marketing heads of companies for instance Peter Wesonga of Brookside Dairies and Mona Karangi of Coca-Cola, are especially in love with this retarded KSSSA model because they get commissions and cuts which they split with the 8-4-4 teachers who have turned the mediocre annual tournaments into a cash-cow.
The amount they receive should be enough to pay for the arena and the officials. The federation receives more than 2,000,000 Ksh from league fees. It is very sad that the federation cannot even afford a game ball for each game. The referee has to pick the basketballs the teams play with and decide which is better for that particular game. A game ball is 5,000 Ksh and since utmost, three basketball courts can be used at once, you would need three standard balls and same for the ladies. It would be unfair to talk about the standard of refereeing because if it is hard to manage the league, it would be too much to expect better refereeing standards. There is always open Bias and conflict of interest.
Going back to the issue of the venue, most league games are played in upper hill. Being specific, upper hill has been the designated playing ground for division 1 basketball for a long time and now, with the inclusion of division 2, their games are also played at upper hill high school. Being fair and true to everyone, all those teams have their training grounds which are by all standards better than the upper hill playing ground.
It beats logic why one would pay 70, 000 Ksh to play at a substandard basketball court leaving the comfort of their own basketball court. Perhaps institutions like universities would not mind but it does not make sense to self-sponsored teams. What’s worse, the premier league is also played at upper hill. For example, why would Kenya ports author basketball team travel all the way to Nairobi to play at upper hill against Ulinzi warriors yet they have one of the best indoor arenas in the country.
All the money spent on travelling and paying the league could be put to better use or it would make more sense if there was some incentive to play for or I the league was better organized. What makes the whole idea of using upper hill sound wrong is the fact that no other national league in the country uses a high school playing ground. The reason upper hill is preferred by the officials is because the secretary general of the Kenya Basketball federation principal. Moreover, the field can be used for free while the officials pocket the money meant to cater for a proper standard venue.
Any high school should not be included to a national league. The idea to have upper hill play in division one basketball or division 2 is a remarkable idea. It has moulded these young players to mature in their game and improve on their skills. However, there is a catch to all this. First, high schools in other regions which cannot play the National league are disadvantaged. secondly, upper hill has gone to many national finals which is an automatic qualifying ticket to the East African school games where they win. It brings glory to Kenya but it is unfair because they compete against schools which have not undergone similar preparations. Last Year upper hill lost.
One, the principal benefits from the trips abroad and from sponsorship received financially. However, this has made upper hill to have an unfair advantage over other schools around the country in the national competitions. This year, upper hill met alliance in the finals and the score was 80-20. There should be a high school league for other schools to participate in so as to raise the overall standard of the game.
The reason why some of the coaches and other players are never vocal in raising concerns evident in the federation is because they are part of the cartel which benefits from these heinous acts. These players or coaches will be awarded tenders of whatever nature by the federation, some benefit from training clinics held by the federation and some players get selected to the national team even if they are not the best and some of the coaches will be nominated to manage the national team. For a fact, the national coach to the ladies’ team has been one individual for a period of 5 years.
In other sports, every activity is in the public domain for example, selection of players, coaches and even the officials themselves. That is never the case with basketball. A worrying trend and statistic is the number of Kenyan players in the Ugandan Basketball league.
To paint a better picture of the dire situation of the Kenyan Basketball status, one can analyse both the Kenyan and Ugandan league and then compare the two in all aspects from the management, player’s responses, achievements, fan base, sponsorship, national team selection, participation in regional and international competitions among others.
To understand the level of ignorance in the Federation, there are various questions to ask. Has the Federation complied with the sports act? When was the last time they were audited? Ask the officials to comment on the steps they are taking to improve the sport and last the future of basketball in Kenya? Are they grooming younger officials to take over management of the sport?
This is just a tip of all the malpractices in the Kenya Basketball Federation. Indeed, the country is not short of talent. There are many talented players some of whom have are now playing international basketball. However, there is a malignant cancer of incompetence, lack of vision, hypocrisy and corruption deeply entrenched in the Kenyan Basketball Federaon and its officials which unless dealt with seriously will continue to suppress growth of the game, its players and jeopardise the future of the game in Kenya.
Fucked up 8-4-4 teachers like Paul Otula should not have a role in managing national projects like the Kenya Basketball Federation or the Kenya Secondary School Sports Association. Those are teachers who overloaded students with homework, and deprived them of their childhood, and thereby are obvious enemies to Sport. These fucked-up 8-4-4 teachers are not born of the enlightenment, and will never want to see students prosper in co-curricular activities because they were conditioned by Moi to dumb us down.
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