NPCA in turmoil September 24, 2007

Nairobi chaos hampers Kenya's progress

The ongoing problems inside the Nairobi Provincial Cricket Association - Kenya's largest and most influential province - continue to rumble on and are now having a detrimental effect on local cricket.

The NPCA has been in a state of flux since June when constituent clubs refused to approve annual accounts as there had not been an AGM for three years. There was also widespread criticism of the conduct of the NPCA board. The meeting ended in chaos with the acting chairman's report being rejected and accounts left unapproved.

A further complication was that the NPCA had not adopted a new constitution, as it had agreed to do at the time the old Kenyan Cricket Association was wound up. The board's reluctance to do so - stemming, so critics said, because it would in all likelihood mean the removal from office of several senior officers - was lambasted, and as a result a constitution review committee was set up to look into the matter. Its report is due shortly.

Another attempt to hold the AGM was due last Monday (September 17). Although all clubs were supposedly notified well in advance, NPCA officials cancelled the meeting at short notice and without contacting stakeholders.

One source said that senior officials had been trying to persuade clubs to change sides and back them but that move had been unsuccessful and they could not risk another public humiliation. The re-emergence of Sharad Ghai, the former KCA chairman, as a representative of Nairobi Gymkhana and someone closely allied to senior NPCA officials is not thought to have helped their cause.

The mess inside the NPCA has had two knock-on effects. The first is that the CK elections, which were due to have taken place by the end of June, have been put on hold as the board is of the opinion that to have them while the largest province's association is in such a mess would be detrimental.

The second, and the most serious for rank-and-file players, is that the once-prestigious NPCA league has become rather shambolic with stories of cancelled matches, disciplinary problems and umpiring disputes abounding. Given that the bulk of the national side come from the NPCA league, Kenyan cricket cannot afford such a state of flux.

Martin Williamson is executive editor of Cricinfo