For these youth on the other hand, simpler interventions would make a bigger difference than one big stadia for the entire county. For example laying proper turfs for community grounds, building shaded stands to encourage fans to attend matches and building changing rooms would make massive differences. These small interventions replicated across all counties would have a much deeper impact for the youth than 5 stadia across the country.
For these youth, their plight has been fodder for every politician in the past years. They receive handouts every now and then, donations of equipment, kit, boots are appreciated but none of those things are more important than the infrastructure.
According to the manifesto, the Jubilee government will,
“upgrade existing sporting facilities at the County level to accommodate swimming, tennis, basketball and rugby.”
Expecting development from the central government may not materialize judging from the 2015/2016 budget estimates. From the budget, only Moi and Ruringu stadium are scheduled for development. There ministry of housing also purposes to build two stadia whose details are not specified.
In the budget, the Ministry of Sports makes a sweeping statement about
“rehabilitations of 20 other community sports facilities across the country”
without specifying which of these 20 grounds are due for rehabilitation. The ministry also intends to identify and develop 500 youths in sports.
How this would work for Modi and his friends is still unclear. The same ministry has allocated money to train 1,000 personnel in sports matters. The irony of training more officials than youth is stark, perhaps an indication of how much things haven’t changed in government.
Clearly youth struggling with sport at the grassroots are not the focus of the government. The manifesto however, promised to
“Facilitate and encourage the better management of sports .Facilitate the professionalization of sports through introduction of professional coaches in schools.”
Notably, the ministry of planning through the National Youth Service will have the biggest impact on the youth as more than 21,000 are set to join and graduate from the programme. However, the structure of the NYS does little to nurture sports, that mandate lies with the ministry.
According to the youth, they feel that the government needs to improve accessibility to sporting facilities in communities. Sports is important in keeping the youth away from vices, some of which like drug abuse are becoming more rampant.
The government on its part needs to liaise with the youth and youth based organisations to identify projects that improve sport at the grassroots level. Some of the suggested interventions include grants for self sustaining community teams that meet set criteria channeled through the Uwezo fund.
Cocky Van Dam a Dutch football coach who runs a girls football programme intimates that the lack of investment in the youth wastes talents. In the Netherlands, football scouting and development starts when children are four years and they have leagues from that level on wards.
“Regular matches are absolutely essential to develop the talent and having leagues at all levels is important. Having the right facilities and organisation would make a lot of development in sports right now.”
For Modi and his friends, they are more concerned with government programmes that will affect their sports directly and not the big fancy stadia or the mega projects that may have been in the manifesto.