Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Jaffery win NPCA 6-A-Side

Unofficial news has managed to bypass the information guzzling goat in the Indian Ocean via Nakeel, (who is an absolute angel and legend). She tells me that Nairobi Jaffery were the winners of this weekend's 6-a-side tournament in Nairobi. I would love to have this officially confirmed, but still not a squeak from the NPCA.
I find it very strange, and not a little irritating that with so much going on in Kenyan cricket that we are not seeing and hearing more in the news. Despite a 3-day festival of cricket going on in Nairobi, not a single one of the leading Dailies carried anything on their online sites. They may have done in print, but in an era when so many get their information from the internet, that is simply not good enough. It is exceedingly vexing to read a report on a Kenyan newsite about the English Premier League or West Indies vs Zimbabwe ODI, when both are easily accessible on plenty of other sites around the World, many of whom the articles are borrowed from anyway. Meanwhile the news we really want to see - i.e what is happening in terms of domestic KENYAN sport, is left out.
Not only was the six-a-side tournament being played in Nairobi, but Cricket Kenya's two top officials were in South Africa trying to further Kenya's standing at the ACA meeting. True, the Nation did carry a story the day they left, but since then nothing has been reported at all. Was the trip a success? Did they get the backing they were after? What effect will it have on Kenya's future? Who knows - it has not been reported on.
Announced in the Ugandan press, and on international websites was an upcoming tour of Uganda at the end of May. Again, nothing in the Kenyan press at all. Indeed, I have yet to see official confirmation of the tour from the Kenyan authorities.
Finally was the news that Kenya have been chosen to host the Under 19 World Cup. One would have thought that an event of this magnitude at least would get a mention by the Kenyan press. After all, this event has not only seen the unveiling of such great talents as Brian Lara, but will bring 16 teams of the World's best young cricketers to Kenya to experience our hospitality. One would have thought that such a prestige event would be reported on with glee. Yet what has been written in the Kenyan on-line media? Not a jot.
This sort of apathy toward what is Kenya's best performing team sport is worrying. If Kenya's sports editors truly do not care about cricket, then maybe they should be giving their jobs to someone else. If they do care, but are being influenced by more sinister forces, then serious steps need to be taken to ensure that news reaches the public and fans.
This is where the silence from the administrators is puzzling. There are obvious reasons I am not running any form of cricket in Kenya, but if I was, raising the image of the game in the public eye would be a major priority. If I was holding a 3-day festival, I would make damn sure that it was promoted and written about in the daily press. It is not enough in the modern World to have a good product. For it to succeed, it must be advertised well and heavily. Only with lots of promotion will a product, be it toothpaste, a car or a sport succeed in a competetive market. Currently, cricket should be in a strong position to make inroads on its competitors. It is under new management which has backing both financial and conceptual from the international body. It is a sport where we have qualified to play in the World Cup. It is a sport with a full and concrete list of international fixtures with the possibility of others to come. More than that, its opponents are weak. Other sports are still suffering from mismanagment and corruption while cricket is beginning to put that behind it and focus on improving the future. This position needs to be exploited. Kenya's cricket administrators must make an effort to publicise the game. If they do, the rewards could be substantial. If they don't it will be yet another catch put down in the outfield, and we will be forced to watch others overtake us. I know which fork of the road I would prefer us to go down.

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