25 April 2006

KENYA: Team Should Aim Much Higher

The East, Central and Southern African Basketball Championships start in Nairobi tomorrow. While it is alright to see some international action in Nairobi, there is little to be excited about.

We say so because Kenya has not had any more international exposure beyond the regional tournament, in which it has taken part for more than a decade.

The participation in the contest is not a bad thing, only that it has contributed to the steady decline of the game in Kenya.

It is by playing better teams mainly on the continental and intercontinental stage that standards of our game can improve.

Kenya's participation in African championships has been rare with the last major international assignment being the All African Games in Abuja in 2003, in which the women's team took part.

Before then, the women's team had played in the African championships in Nairobi in 1998, while the men last played in Africa in 1993.

In between, clubs such as the Kenya Ports Authority and Ulinzi have made token appearances in the continental club championships.

With the regional championships the only available challenge, the standards have fallen to dismal levels, while the other regional teams, which previously would not have raised a team against Kenya, have prospered.Going by the standards of the game 10 years ago, the regional tournaments should have been left to junior teams.

The Kenya Basketball Federation officials have cited lack of money as the reason for not sending teams to African championships. We say that is not an excuse.

The reason they were elected is to find the money to run the game and ensure Kenya plays at the highest level possible. If they cannot do that, they have no business occupying those offices.

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