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Ex-FKF boss Nyamweya offers 'success' tips for new CS Achesa

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Former Football Kenya Federation (FKF) boss Sam Nyamweya has urged new Cabinet Secretary for Sports and Heritage Rashid Achesa to seek wide consultation from the industry’s stakeholders in order to fulfill his mandate in the Ministry.

In an open letter to the new CS, Nyamweya admitted Achesa has a tasking job at hand but backed him to get it right if he works hand in hand with the right people.

According to the vetran sports administrator, cultivating a strong camaraderie with the current and former industry players will ease the new CS’s job, which he underlines falls squarely under President Uhuru Kenyatta’s four pillar-agenda for his last term, especially in the context of job creation for the youth of this Country.

“I imagine that you would be aware of how intricate sports is and obviously not a straight jacket affair as many would think. I hope your predecessor would be kind enough to tell you that while issues about the sector seem easy to fix, the reality is different.

“Dr. Hassan Wario is leaving the Ministry with a mixed bag of fortunes in terms of what he was able to do, and majority of what was on his in-tray in 2013 is waiting for you on the same place he found,” Nyamweya said.

He further noted only exceptional performance will save Achesa the wrath of critics, who have questioned his appointment on academic grounds and political background.

“Many a folk have highlighted your role as a youth leader in the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and recently all you did to ensure the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta, which efforts people allude have you the reward of Cabinet Secretary.

“Very few people in the sector feel this might be quite a handful for you, someone whose closet of “dirty linen” has included assertions that you dropped out of school at primary level, but I hold a different view on the widely debatable question of performance and academics. However, you may need to not only develop a thick skin to enable you handle the matter going forward but also work your skin off to change that perception of academic incomplete ab initio,” Nyamweya advised.

A streak of ‘failures’

In his judgment, Nyamweya feels several former holders of the office failed to deliver, leaving a chance for Achesa to change the norm of uninspiring trend.

“You come into a Ministry that many have come and gone, often with their heads down due to how much they promised yet terribly failed to deliver.

“Think about how Ochilo Ayako, Najib Balala, Maina Kamanda, Hellen Sambili, Francis Nyenze, Ababu Namwamba and your predecessor all faired.  They have nothing much to celebrate in their tenures, but each one of them would be an invaluable class for you,  as you engage many others who understand the history of sports in this country,” he stated.

Battered reputation

Nyamweya also warned the new CS of the ministry’s battered reputation, referring him to the perennial scandals around Kenya’s participation in international competitions (All Africa Games 2012 and Rio Olympics come into mind) among others.

He also reminded him of the recent abortion of hosting rights for the African Nations Championships (CHAN), noting investment in sporting infrastructure could be the foundation of his legacy if he succeeds in it.

Nyamweya opines such projects, which involve huge budgets, can only be realised if he makes them top priorities to the government.

“You have a huge role in advising the government, on what to do when regarding sports. You have to fight for worthy allocations for sports projects.  Of course there is the monster that is the withdrawal of key sponsors from sports due to unfavorable government policy.

“This hot potato issue because the role of sponsor can never be taken by government as the latter’s main function is to facilitate the sector through sound policy and implementation of legislation that makes it favorable for corporate investment in sports,” added Nyamweya in part of the letter calling for operationalisation the Sports Fund.

Thus, the retired football administrator counseled Achesa of ‘the age-old sports lottery matter’ which has never been realized despite the Sports Act 2015 giving way to its establishment.

The lottery envisaged among other issues, structured funding for national teams participating in various competitions, transition from the Societies Act to the Sports Act and structures for talent and youth development systems.

“The country still lacks a national sports development plan despite it being a requirement of the Sports Act 2013.  No proper budgeting plan to accommodate the provisions of the Act and has never moved from the haphazard way of working,” averred Nyamweya.

Federation politics

While different federations forms the basis of the CS’s operations for specific sports disciplines, Nyamweya warns their unending politics are perilous to engage in.  He offers, that almost all former Sports Ministry bearers were tainted by the federations.

“Avoid the temptation of getting into internal politics of sports federations and other formations, however difficult this may be for you as a combative politician. That will be the beginning of your end as your immediate predecessor came to find out though very late.

“You can count on the experience of many veterans in this sector, majority of whom are always more than happy to play assist,” he said.

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