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Cricket icon puts up a strong face in the middle of an unending controversy

Barry Silah @obel_barry

Cricket icon Maurice Odumbe does not feel haunted at all, even as his coaching career faces question marks. In fact, the national team coach believes that he has been a professional more than ever challenging anybody who has anything against him to face him straight.

The former Kenyan international has been all over the news lately following his exclusion from the tour party currently in South Africa for the Africa T20 Cup Championship.

“I am a great servant for my country, I would never do anything to compromise or sabotage progress of the sport that built me,” he says.

In an interview with People Sport, the multiple World Cup hero questioned the motives of his handling labelling the matter as “bad press”. He suggested that as head coach, he had a reputation to keep, thus it made no sense to treat him with contempt. “Respect is important and particularly for some of us.

I mean well for the game and so when some of these things happen then I worry about the players. It is my hope that we can find a solution soon,” says Odumbe who has a short running contract with the team until November.

According to Cricket Kenya, Odumbe absconded work for 13 days last month, which earned him the reprimand. He has since been hit with a 70 per cent deduction to his salary; something he highly disagrees with.

“For starters, I did not go AWOL as they suggested. I had clearance from my doctor where I had gone to seek medical check-up. I even copied both CK General Manager and the Interim Management Committee (IMC) on the same through emails on August 8. It was, therefore, unfortunate that I had to be dragged through mud,” says the outspoken retired all-rounder.

Initially on inquiry, CK acting chairperson Herpal Singh told this paper that Odumbe was unwell and could not make it through to the continental tournament alongside the national team. However interestingly during the same week, Odumbe played a match with his Stray Lions side in the local Elite Super Division.

However, Odumbe, who has shown willingness to talk to the stakeholders and restore normalcy, says his target was to take Kenya back to Division Two when the ICC Qualifiers come calling in November at Oman.

He described those fighting him as “busy-bodies” that had little interest in seeing the sport develop. “I want to say that the players and my job is my first priority. The other shadowy people after my neck are no distraction whatsoever.”

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