September 7, 2009


Poor organisation blights Kenya's top league

Martin Williamson

Swamibapa A and defending champions Kanbis were tied at the top of the Nairobi Provincial Cricket Association Super League as it took a one week mid-season break.

In recent years Kanbis have held a marked advantage as they supply few players to any teams in the Kenya set-up, with a result they are almost always at full strength when rivals are weakened by absentees on national duty. This simmering issue was highlighted a fortnight ago when then leaders Swamibapa, missing five players who were in Canada with the Kenya side, lost to third-placed Telca.

While that loss has been taken on the chin, it against raises concerns that the club might consider a repeat of their stance in 2007 when they withdrew from the league after being penalised for refusing to field a side when they had nine players on national duty. Next month NPCA games are scheduled at the same time Kenya are playing in the ICC Intercontinental Cup, which will again hit Swamibapa, among others, hard.

This made the weekend break being scheduled at a time there was no international cricket all the more bizarre.

“Everyone wants Kenyan cricket to be as competitive as possible, and we recognise that it’s simply not been the case for a number of years,” one club official told Cricinfo. “Bone-headed organisation like this just ensures a lower standard of cricket and plays right into the hands of clubs who contribute nothing to the national side.”


Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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Posted by Arsad bin Sailav on (September 9, 2009, 23:45 GMT)

I think its ridiculous. National interest comes first. Majority of the Bangladesh national players likes of Mortaza,Razzak,Al-Hasan,Kayes,Mahmud,Rasel,Rubel plays for KHULNA. When they r on national duty, Do Khulna boycott matches ? NO.

Posted by Rj on (September 9, 2009, 19:16 GMT)

The infighting in Kenya has been a historic issue/problem as far as I can remember from when Kenyans participated as East Africa in the world cup in the 1970's. As for one team contributing to the national team; is based on financial incentives offered by Swamibapa to lure the higher caliber players to play for them or in the case of the Stray Lions composed of national players sticking it to the other clubs marred in internal politics. I also agree that the infrastructure in Kenya lacks well behind that of Ireland, Scotland, Canada, and Netherlands even after the appointment of a new board but this again boils down to the internal bickering that goes on

Posted by Vikram Maingi on (September 9, 2009, 11:11 GMT)

The infrastructure in Kenya is not good. There seems to be some problem with the administration. Young guys in Kenya are probably not so much interested in the game. Let us see whether Eldine Babtiste can revive the fortunes of thee Kenyans.

Posted by Simon Butler on (September 9, 2009, 9:47 GMT)

I have a number of concerns with this situation. Firstly: Why is one team contributing nine players to the national team while another team who is winning the competition on a regular basis contributing no players to the national team. The doesn't make sense unless there is such a class difference between the national team and the domestic structure. Notice that the best teams in the world a strong domestic competitions to support them. Secondly: No team should ever boycott a game simply because they have player on international duty, they should have adequate cover, if not the Kenya board should be compensating the team or offering a reschedule to a date better suited. Third: It is this level of infighting and division within the nation that is stopping Kenya from progressing to the next level of cricket. I am in no doubt they are still in the best position to make the step to test cricket, except maybe with Ireland, but they have the best infrastructure of any associate team.

Posted by colinmacbeth on (September 9, 2009, 6:29 GMT)

It may be 'blighted' by poor organisation but that doesn't stop it being excellently reported on - in contrast with the local press which hardly reports it at all, though tiddly-push soccer matches of far lower status warrant mention! Certainly, Kenya cricket, now essentially cast adrift after the ICC's U-19 decision, needs all the help it can get. Perhaps Cricket Kenya should host an U-19 competition, in January, in parallel with the ICC's, in which Sierra Leone and the three other teams which don't make it at the Toronto contest, with one wild card, say Nepal or Tanzania, could take part. That would make good use of the grounds the Kenyans had so assiduously prepared for the ICC U-19s world cup and give the game more publicity. Then perhaps the NPCA would make sure their schedules dovetailed nicely.

Posted by Rj on (September 9, 2009, 2:36 GMT)

Why can't the NPCA make sure that each team in the NPCA can only sign 1 to 3 players from the National team or those under National contracts to insure one side is not handicapped when the National team is abroad or competing at home in ODI's, T20, or ICup? Additionally this will allow the league to stay on schedule and keep it competitive while Team Kenya is fighting on the international scene!

Posted by colin macbeth on (September 8, 2009, 21:03 GMT)

'Bone-headed' is the word - or two! NPCA should cast an across the border (Uganda), where the league schedule avoids such clashes.

Posted by Onyango on (September 8, 2009, 20:17 GMT)

How do we know there will be conflict since we don't know the Zimbabwe ICUP and ODI dates.

Posted by Nitin Patel on (September 8, 2009, 8:47 GMT)

Totally agree with Swamibapa CC boycotting the fixture, its ridiculous timing and blame goes to the board. What is the point of teams like these playing with their second string players and the opponents cherising the glory of winning the tournaments, cricket is not that big in Kenya, therefore all these factors need to be considered to make it more challenging and competetive for all. It makes sense that these teams play against the national players and prove their ability to perform with the best.

Posted by nilesh on (September 7, 2009, 21:43 GMT)

There should be no preferential treatment for teams simply because they have the most representation in the national side. Sticking to a schedule assures league is completed on time. Teams should have enough reserve players to cater fopr such situations.

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Martin Williamson
Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.

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