Gross negligence of the national amputee football team was laid bare to the whole world yesterday when Kenya beat United States 2-1 wearing yellow kits branded ‘Team Sonko’ at the ongoing Amputee World Cup in San Juan, Mexico.
Slaying the world’s biggest economic and military superpower thrust Kenya’s ‘unwanted’ sons in the global spotlight. And what a shame! Their kitting is a huge indictment to the government, which let a national team travel to an international championship (The Amputee World Cup) without kits or even the official flag.
The team is inching towards progress to the knockout stages of the competition and back at home, custodians of the sport are facing graft charges, accused of embezzling millions of money meant to grow sports. “They came to us looking for air tickets and that is all we provided. Nobody spoke about kits. We gave what they wanted.
We do not know what agreement they have with Sonko (Nairobi governor) so we cannot say why they are wearing those kits,” Sports Principal Secretary Kirimi Kaberia said yesterday.
He added: “Let me get in touch with our consulate there (Mexico) then find out what can be done.” While the 2013 Sports Act compels the Ministry of Sports to take charge of all national teams by providing for everything including allowances, air tickets and kits, the small group of amputee team had to camp at Kencom House (ministry’s headquarters) and beg for whatever crumbs that could be thrown their way.
After weeks of begging the ministry of sports only gave tickets, issued so late that the team had to play their opening World Cup match just hours upon arriving in San Juan, Mexico. Kenya lost 4-1 to Turkey, the defending champions.
Victory yesterday coupled with fourth group representatives Liberia’s no-show puts Kenya on the cusps of qualification to the next stage. Ministry officials, with egg all on their faces, were indefensible after the embarrassing pictures coming from San Juan.
Kenya’s final group fixture was slated for the wee hours of Wednesday but Liberian amputee team had not reached Mexico by the time of going to press.
“We have been struggling and begging for government support all along. Ever since we qualified we got promises, which were not fulfilled but we are glad they gave us tickets to Mexico. We’ll do our best nonetheless,” Amputee Stars goalkeeper Edwin Maina said during their austere departure last week.