The world cup windfall

The world cup windfall

The world cup windfall

When FIFA president Sepp Blatter lifted the envelope to cut short the anxiety across the world and announce the host country of the 2010 world cup in May 2004, the whole African continent erupted in dance and jubilation perhaps as a reflection in the context of the African culture, Despite South Africa hosting this year’s world cup, it is termed as the African world cup for Africa and Africans. While making the announcement Blatter said the decision to send the event to Africa was a victory for the entire continent.

After the historic announcement, South Africa immediately swung into action putting all the resources available to make sure that everything would be ready before the December 2009 deadline. They managed to beat almost all deadlines but a few acceptable minor delays which were strongly defended by the FIFA president Blatter.

Back in Kenya our government albeit late through the ministry of sports formed a committee to market Kenya to the teams participating in this year’s prestigious world event with a view of luring them to pitch their training base in Kenya as part of their acclimatization process before connecting to the event venues down South.Kenya shares the same climatic conditions as South Africa and its proximal location only four hours away would have served as the most excellent training ground for most world cup destined teams.

Pomp and color greeted the launch of the committee to promote Kenya as the best destination for the world’s top soccer teams .To date the noble idea only remains to be seen just as a statement of intent since nothing tangible has ever come out of the committee not even managing to convince one of the African teams who had earlier expressed their interest in rooting their training in Kenya. It’s not clear though why Ghana had to change their base to France ditching their favorite Naivasha hide out where they have been in more than one occasion.

Despite not securing any direct benefit from the first ever African world cup like our neighbors Tanzania who shall be taking in the Samba Boys, Kenyan soccer has benefited immensely in many different ways. To start with, the previously rundown City stadium was given a major face lift by the Fifa Africa facility improvement program which lay down the beautiful tuff playing surface. In addition, numerous Club officials and managers have been taken through a series of sports management courses including one organized by FIFA/CAF in Mombasa.We have also seen institutions which had no relationship with soccer before finding their new love in football.

The cooperate world has been on the fore front in trying to market their brands by associating themselves with the African world cup. leading the pack is Coca cola who have reaped full value for their association with this world cup which was greatly hyped by the real world cup tour in all continents. The introduction of Copa Coca cola is a direct result of the official world cup sponsors intent to leave a long term legacy in Africa after the 2010 world cup is long gone. This in turn has had a very positive impact in the nurturing and subsequent exposure of raw talent that would not be otherwise noticed. As we speak a team of 16 players and officials has since left the country to participate in the International Copa coca cola championship in South Africa thus opening ways for our young stars to expose themselves to the thousands of scouts pitching camp in South Africa.

 The latest kid on the block is the Safaricom Sakata Ball Challenge which has been hugely successful so far with its finals slated for August this this year. so far over 15 new talents have been scouted out of the on going tournament and have joined several local premier league teams.

In addition to the emergence of new talents through these tournaments there is massive cash rewards to the teams which would in turn change the operational mode of the teams most of which struggle for existence due to financial constraints.

To cap it up the entrance of Super sport as one of the KPL title sponsors has pimped up our local league. Super sports coverage and sponsorship has enabled them to cement their market dominance in Kenya ahead of the June 11th Kick Off a thing which I believe was integral if not the main objective for their decision to sponsor the KPL premier League. It is indeed true that corporate companies that designed their marketing strategy around the 2010 world cup phenomenon have reaped maximum returns on their sponsorship. However the most remarkable fete is what their involvement has contributed to the growth of soccer in Kenya. Super sport stands tall as one of the major transformers of the Kenyan premier league and we salute them for resuscitating the dying game.

At Michezo Afrika we have also been apart of contributing towards the 2010 world cup legacy through the Ubabalo program.Ubabalo is an adopted South African Xhosa word which means grace for Africa. Through the program in conjunction with International sports coalition, we have managed to train over 600 youth soccer coaches across the entire country to become transformational agents. The youth coaches have been equipped with the knowledge of how to use sports to touch on the lives of the young generation with the hope of having a better country with responsible and disciplined leaders and citizens in the future.

Kudos to the many cooperate companies who have tirelessly put their investment in Kenyan soccer and sports despite the persistent wrangles in football management. It is our hope that the relationship between Kenya soccer development and cooperate organizations would continue nourishing as a lasting legacy of the 2010 African World cup for the betterment of our youth and sportsmen.