MBAO FOR BAO; TO GIVE OR NOT TO GIVE

                                                 

To give or not to give should no longer be a question in the minds of Kenyans. We have over the years taken it upon ourselves to give towards anything that would of course make a difference in the society- Football being an integral part of this society.

A few days ago- FKF in partnership with BTP Proactive Media launched the ‘Mbao for Bao’ initiative aimed at raising funds for the national soccer team Harambee Stars. FKF targets to raise over 250M shillings to finance the teams campaign for one of the continent’s World Cup slots and in association with FRIENDS of HARAMBEE STARS they hope that every Kenyan in parting away with 20/= or more would stamp their mark on the National Team as shareholders and not just fans.
Surely with all due respect- nobody can oppose such a good initiative but much needs to be looked into concerning past records, mistrust, goodwill, accountability and the promotion of a begging culture in our country’s football circles.
Mistrust
While it’s clear that the past federations (KFF & FKL) were hardly trusted by Kenyans- the Friends of HARAMBEE STARS have come out to say the money donated to the team by Kenyans will not be handled by FKF.
This in itself seems laughable since FKF are the handlers of the National team unless something strange is just about to happen.
While KFF & FKL were known to embezzle funds and mostly pocket the loot meant for the development of the National team- FKF (the new body) hardly has different faces- a new name maybe.
Sam Nyamweya- the chairman was heralded as a changed man and one who would resuscitate the renaissance of a new football management programme has so far failed. It didn’t take long for him to show his true colours and even now as we mourn missed opportunities that could have seen KENYA qualify for 2013 AFCON- it should not be forgotten, nothing has really changed as we seek to push for the 2014 World Cup.  
Goodwill
Benevolence would actually have been the right word but historical terms wouldn’t sound right as we (the fans) are not subjects to the system but either way- this body of football administrators doesn’t arouse any sense of inclination or tendency to help or do good to them.
A quick look at online forums and discussions regarding Kenyan football reveals so much about what Kenyans think about our football administration and their acts of greed.
“They only run to us when they’ve stolen all the money and now feel they can no longer run the national team” One user on a Facebook forum posted.
On twitter it’s no different as another user tweeted away his frustrations “SONKO has paid my Mbao- Nyamwea? Not even a penny”
Looking at the two posts above it’s clear Kenyans don’t feel anything wrong with the idea of raising the money but the fact that Nyamwea is associated with it- opens a whole load of reasons to stay away from giving.
Not so long ago- several first team players, the U-20 team complained of unpaid allowances. The goalkeeper Arnold Origi even went to the media to complain about this and trying to read into the minds of Friends of Harambee Stars it’s clear they don’t want to see this happen anymore. But even so if they manage to let this not happen again by deciding to pay the allowances from these funds- what a shame it would be for FKF who should be paying players for services rendered to the country?
Accountability
It’s a shame when nobody in football circles want to trust anything to do with money and the federation.
Let’s not forget- not so far ago; Safaricom introduced the SAKATA ball tournament, a tourney that was meant to improve the standards of the game and help promote the unearthing of new talent.
Years have since passed by and the old age Kenyan problem of an effective striker pop’s up once again. While this tournament helped unearth talent it also helped Clubs and coaches spot talent. The motivation levels were high and the confidence gained by the young boys and girls would have served this country a great deal but we all know what happened.
While FKF insisted on their demands for a certain percentage of the sponsorship money, football standards have continued to dwindle and more and more kids are no longer playing football. While Safaricom insisted on auditing the books for the running of this tournament- they were met by a hostile group led by the FKF chair himself and soon SAKATA BALL was on it’s knees.
FKF is the custodian of football in this country and nothing to do with football and anything related to it can be done without their involvement including what we now call- Friends of Harambee Stars/Mbao for Bao.
I don’t know what this means to you but the fact that the NATIONAL TEAM can still ask for funds from members of the public is a shame. Is the federation living beyond its means suddenly? Is money the only ingredient remaining for us to pull off a famous World Cup appearance? Is this a scheme by certain individuals who honestly care about the national team but whose honesty is surrounded by a few preying eyes and hands?
Begging Culture
One quick thought that sprung to mind when this initiative was launched was what the future holds for the game.
The target might be met but for how long shall we continue giving to the national team?
FIFA allocates some money to the federation yearly, the Government through the ministry of sports the same, FKF too have internal ways of creating funds for it’s use- can we suddenly say it’s not enough?
Does it mean for every Kenyan- each year will be a year of giving to the national team so it churns out results?
Repeated over some time- it develops into a culture that will be inherited by our children and children’s children- a shame I would have to say.
It’s funny how the federation bosses applaud small tokens given/promised to the team before every national team match day. No official ever dares the politicians/tycoons who promise millions to the team to help set up something of importance that will be used over time.
The idea of building structures for our football is long gone and now- reliance on cheap hand-outs for today without looking at what tomorrow has in store is our remedy.
Food for Thought
If MBAO FOR BAO is an initiative aimed at helping the Harambee Stars get to the 2014WC does it mean that after that- we shall have to part with another MBAO or more to help the country’s quest for the 2018WC?
The federation has a budget drawn at the start of each year- does it mean qualifying for the 2014 WC is an idea that came up the other day?
Ghana couldn’t honour the Kenya friendly because they did not have enough money to enable them assemble a competitive squad and they stuck to it. Kenya gets invited for COSAFA tourney- the federation gladly accepts to take part, does this mean we do not have proper planning or we can never turn down a chance bearing in mind we have our own CECAFA/QUALIFIERS to take part in before the year ends?
How sure then are we that an audit of the MBAO FOR BAO campaign shall ever be released to Kenyans, leave alone that. How sure are we that it shall be done in the first place?
Do you think finances is the main challenge affecting our national team?
It all depends on you- nobody would love to see his/her national team suffer but sometimes it’s fallacy to donate and watch your money disappear in thin air. Lastly- I pray and hope I’m wrong this time round
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