Kenya's captain renews call for more matches November 1, 2005

Tikolo calls for players to go professional

Cricinfo staff

Steve Tikolo arrived back in Kenya after defeat in the Intercontinental Cup final and said that he believed the sport had to go professional if Kenya was to regain its past glories in the game.

"The Kenya Cricket Association needs to adopt a professional approach to the sport," Tikolo said . "They have to start from the top and this will trickle down to the players. The days of playing cricket as a social sport are over. You need to take it as a job, train day in day out and play regularly. That is the only way we will get results."

But KCA officials, already without sponsors, have said they are not able to put the players on contract as they only receive an annual grant of US$125,000 dollars from the ICC for development, and at the moment that is suspended because of issues remaining from the previous regime.

Last year, Kenya's players went on strike when the old board failed to pay them monies outstanding from the World Cup and Champions Trophy. The new board has paid a significant amount of the arrears, but it also inherited massive debts.

Tikolo also stated that the pre-match preparations had actually hampered Kenya by the time of the final. "It was a long tour in terms of games we played. We played seven days in ten in Zimbabwe and it took its toll on players by the time we played Ireland. Thomas Odoyo and Martin Suji got injured and couldn't play in the second innings."

By contrast, Tikolo said that now Kenya had no matches in the pipeline. "There is nothing lined up for us which is a disappointment because we need to be playing more often at the top level. Some games have been lined up for next year but that is too far."