For a glimpse into Africa’s possible future look at the great sporting talent the continent produces in the leading sports.
From Football, Athletics to Basketball, Africa exports and churns talents in hundreds. When nations line-up their teams, more often than not there is an African bred or a naturalized athlete in their teams.
Usually a bitter harangue centers on these sports men and women back in their homelands. Then the dual nationality tastes bitter and is vilified.
But when they sparkle, their people go gaga, forgetting dual nationality.
During the World Cup, the Belgian team had millions of supporters tucked away in the East African nation of Kenya. Belgium was fielding one of ‘their own’. How quick Kenyans forget that the teen had painfully turned his back on their team.
Well had Divork Origi accepted the direct ticket to play tens and tens of qualifying matches for years for Harambee Stars, he would have kissed the World Cup good bye.
Every athlete hope and dream is to play for a team and even better his country. So what happens if the team never plays? And if they play you never feature? And when you feature, you are exhausted even before the competition starts?
Interacting with the athletes at the Games village in Glasgow and at the competition arenas has left reporters feeling drab. The ever-persistent allowances disputes that define our teams at the world cups, Olympics cannot let off.
With the end of the competition drawing nearer, team Kenya athletes are jittery. “When will they pay us our allowances? They promised to pay half before we left till now…everyday a new story crops up on the hold up,” lamented an athlete still waiting to receive the first of the promised Ksh.500 000.
Oversize kits Oversize Kits
You see, unlike Ghana, who transported their money to Brazil for their footballers in hard cash,Government officials wired money to an individual or was it to the Kenyan Embassy’s account in London to pay the allowances, that is still being cleared in phases.
The athletes some in ill-fitting tracksuits are glad to get over and done with the competition and just go back home.
The National Olympic Committee of Kenya missed the memo on the Commonwealth Games dates and therefore could not ‘get the money to get the competition and training kits from Nike to the athletes in good time’.
Nothing beats the shame of seeing officials rushing to secure competition garbs on the eve of the competition.
You kinda get a fill of what wheeled away the 2013 Tour de France winner ‘Kenyan born’ (he is one of our won) Chris Froome to swap nationality. There are even claims that some of the Kenyan athletes have been embarrassingly sharing competition kits.
The Kenya 7s team played in their usual Samurai kits, yet all the national teams to the All African Games, Commonwealth and Olympic Games are supposed to be kitted by team Kenya sponsor Nike.
Adidas, Nike, Mizuno: Any does it for Nigeria
The disturbing kitting dimension in Glasgow is replicated across most of the African teams even amongst the powerhouse Nigeria.
The kits too have been getting to Glasgow in bits.
Their diligent sports government officials committed all their time, money, focus and effort in ensuring the Super Eagles soar high in Brazil, justifiably so they forgot to order the kit for the Commonwealth Games, they were biding to host eight years ago…Abuja lost the bid to host the 2014 games to Glasgow. The kits were ordered just weeks to the Games.
So some athletes are competing in the official team Nigeria kits Adidas while their compatriots are in Nike.
Some weightlifters wore the recognisable green and white kits while some were in some strange blue, others were in some black and luminous green even red….
What matters is the kit isn’t it? like the Nike Blessing Okagbare wore in her dash for the gold…no one is to blame its Africanism the obnoxious way of thinking.
It is where athletes are granted the hankered entry to events if they can pay their tickets to the championships….it beats the logic why these dual nationals would forsake their motherlands…the land of opportunities that doesn’t yield anything!