East Africa news

Kenya prepare for new superleagues

Martin Williamson

August 15, 2011

Comments: 7 | Text size: A | A

Cricket Kenya's latest initiative to help develop the strength of the country's domestic game gets underway later this week with the start of the new regional Twenty20 and 50-over franchise competitions.

For a long time there has been a huge gap between standards of the country's premier league run by the NPCA and the national team. A previous attempt to organise a competition for the leading players failed because of funding and a lack of interest among participants.

But following Kenya's wretched performance at the World Cup, the board has made sweeping changes, backed by the government and stakeholders, and the East Africa Premier League and East African Cup are perhaps the boldest. Furthermore, the decision to include teams from neighbours Uganda will not only give an edge to matches, but will also help development in one of the most promising up-and-coming Associates.

Four teams from Kenya will participate - the Nairobi Buffaloes, Kongonis both based in the capital, the Rift Valley Rhinos from Nakuru and Coast Pekee in Mombasa - while Rwenzori Warriors and Nile Knights will represent Uganda. Teams will be comprised of international players, senior club players and age group cricketers aiming to make the national squads of both countries. The top two teams in each competition will compete in live televised finals at the end of October.

Cricket Kenya has agreed a broadcast deal with Supersport who will televise a number of live matches throughout Africa as well as a regular highlights and magazine programme.

"This is a hugely exciting development for cricket in the region, one which we hope will improve playing standards and ignite a real interest and passion for the game throughout the region," CK's chief executive Tom Sears said. "We hope by concentrating the pool of talent we have into a smaller number of teams playing highly competitive cricket, the fortunes of our national teams will improve over time and lower down, in domestic and age group cricket, standards will improve as players strive to make one of the franchise teams.

"There has already been significant interest in the East Africa Premier League and East African Cup from both the cricket and corporate worlds and we believe once the competition commences this will grow and continue to grow in future years."

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 Sportsscientist on (August 16, 2011, 14:26 GMT)

i think its great news for associate cricket........I still feel these associates should be trying to play 3/4 day cricket more regularly though. this does not seem to be happening. it's ok to raise the profile and try and generate interest, but what happens when you play a big team in multi day cricket???? you get smashed.

Posted by AzyS on (August 16, 2011, 2:32 GMT)

Great to see Kenya revamping the domestic structure... this is the first step to building a strong national team.. @Meety i agree with you mate and i too have been saying the same thing... the top associates should be invited to play practise games with the full members before any series.. this will do them a world of good and also will not affect the schedules of the full members... for sure the associates will become even stronger... for example uae, afghn, nepal, can be associated with ind,pak and srilanka.. ireland,scot,netherland with england.. usa,bermuda and canada with west indies.. kenya,uganda,namibia with south africa and zimbabwe.. png and vanuatu with aus and nz.. and what about having Two-tier system for test and odi's - the top 2 teams to be awarded at least one series of 3 tests and odi against the top 2 full members.. teams in the 2nd tier can be.. afghn,ire,scot,neth,kenya,can,uae,nam,png.. wolud really love to see Cricket going really global..

Posted by Meety on (August 15, 2011, 22:52 GMT)

@Jash Sing Gill - I think that it wouldn't be too hard to include a preliminary (warm up) series before tours of Zim & Sth Africa so that sides like Kenya & Namibia get some exposure thru high profile test teams touring. It would be impossible for say Oz (or other test nations), to go to Uganda specificially, but possible if it was a warm up game before playing Zimbabwe. I personally think that Bangladesh & Zimbabwe are two teams that would gain a lot by having more matches against these teams, Bangladesh had a 14mth gap in their test schedule, surely they could plug that with a game against say Kenya?

Posted by bala_sachin on (August 15, 2011, 19:13 GMT)

i can bet anythig to say that only only ............................

franchise sytem can increase the interest among the people any country it may be atest or assosciate or affiliate nation

I request all boards to invest more on their FRANCHISE SYSTEM and see results

thats what happening in zim and pak where cricket struggled for many years

ITS WHY FOOTBALL IS MORE FAMOUS because almost every nation playing football is having premier leaguue support

Posted by bala_sachin on (August 15, 2011, 19:01 GMT)

I m very excited to WC semifinalists back into the game

i request ICC africa to support and organise moe games between the nations like zim, ken, upcoming uganda and namibia

Posted by Meety on (August 15, 2011, 11:01 GMT)

This is a really good initiative, would be better if there were 2 Namibian sides as well.

Posted by   on (August 15, 2011, 10:55 GMT)

This is really an awesome step taken by Cricket Kenya. It will surely help to raise the profile of cricket in both Uganda and Kenya. Over time the league should be extended to other East African Nations of Tanzania, Rwanda and if possible Zambia & Burundi. This will give the league a scale and will bring in many more sponsors. On this league, it can surely help Kenya come to old times. I think over time the FTP should include the Test Teams playing ODI series against the top 10 associates. Then teams like Ken, Afg, Ire, Sco can show that they are equally competitive as teams like BD or Zim. It is only the additional funding as Test Nations that BD and Zim have make them have their teams as professionals and not amateurs. Give the same funding to Ken, Ire, Scot or Afg and we will see a huge difference in performance and much better than many so called Test Nations. I will be following this league. Hope Cricinfo will be covering the matches live

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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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