Joseph Angara, a former national cricket team coach has been appointed Botswana national cricket team coach.
Angara who has been the Cricket Kenya Head of Elite-Nairobi is set to take over his new position this week after putting pen to paper on his one-year contract.
Confirming his new appointment, Angara who was in charge of the Botswana under-19 team during this year’s under-19 World Cup Qualifiers in Tanzania said he is delighted with the new role which gives him an opportunity to help develop players Botswana. “I can’t wait to get started.”
Angara who was part of the Kenya squad that reached the 2003 ICC World Cup semi-final before taking up coaching role said he knows what is required of him to get Botswana cricket to the top and is looking forward to achieving that.
“The development of players requires patience and careful nurturing and hopefully I can bring my experience and input into Botswana cricket. I am delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to the pivotal time for Botswana cricket.”
A statement from Botswana Cricket Association read: “We are delighted with Angara’s appointment, as we think he is somebody whose values and philosophy match what we are trying to embed.
He’s got great experience in youth development and in the senior game. His teams have always reflected a style of play which is something we would like to implement and he’s a developer of players.
We think the role will really suit him and he is joining us at a time when his ideas will have the chance to impact on, not just the age group he will be working with, but the group of national coaches. It’s an exciting opportunity and we are really looking forward to working with him.”
Big blow to CK’s development
Angara’s appointment is a big blow to Cricket Kenya’s development that’s currently struggling with its activities. CK has only employed two coaches since 2009 to run development activities in Nairobi.
Among the duties Angara and his colleagues had were introducing the sport to various schools within Nairobi, organizing tournaments for the age-groups and setting up training camps.
Since the beginning of the year these events have not run smoothly and many students who Angara was working with appear to have been abandoned because there is no coach to run the programs which have been going on for almost seven years.
With the year almost half way through, Nairobi has not held a mini-cricket tournament. These are tournaments which all the pupils in primary schools look forward to every term. No word has been communicated to the schools on why this tournament which has been running smoothly twice a year since 2010 has not been held.
With the tournaments failing to be staged, coaches that we spoke to feel that visiting the schools is more of waste of time as pupils will opt to play other games rather than cricket if there is no competition for them.
A junior development coach who worked with Kenya Cricket Association before moving to work with a private cricket academy and who sought anonymity said failure to have the kids play their tournament was a cause of worry for Kenya cricket.
“We really don’t know what the fate of the kids who are in schools is as far as their development is concerned. These kids enjoy competing and by them not being able to play in any competition to date then there is something really wrong with our development,” said the coach.
Serious with cricket development
Angara revealed to sportsnewsarena.com that Botswana Cricket Association which is well behind Kenya in cricket has employed four coaches from Zimbabwe to work in the capital city Gaborane alone. “Botswana are serious with their cricket development. They have many people working with their development program as full time coaches and on voluntary basis.
In the capital alone, they have four coaches from Zimbabwe working on a full time basis. These coaches are assisted by other junior coaches and volunteers. This makes their development work easier and it’s my hope that we will achieve a lot with the group,” Angara stated.
The Nairobi secondary schools league that was started at the beginning of the year and was run by Angara has also not concluded with the schools almost heading to third term. Holiday camps that also used to develop new talents have not been held this year.
“We need these secondary schools players to get into clubs but there is nothing concrete for them and it looks like they will move into the next year without them not having enjoyed the game this year,” the coach lamented.
It is interesting that CK has abandoned the programs which have been in place and instead of improving them, have opted to go ‘county’, ntroducing the game of cricket in the counties. Already CK has visited close to seven counties to introduce the game despite inadequate resources and manpower.
Of the five counties visited, none is playing the game as CK has failed to follow up. There is cause to worry how the program in the counties can be sustained with no coaches especially with Nairobi, the hub of Kenya cricket ignored.
“How can they move to other counties and yet Nairobi which is the hub of Kenyan cricket has been a challenge to them? CK should realize that without enough coaches and facilities, whatever they are trying to do is not feasible,” the coach advised.
The counties’ program also stalled due to lack of enough cricket kit. Even with the failure of the counties’ program still fresh in Kenyans minds, CK has run to the University where they are still facing the same challenges with the county programs.
Uganda’s vibrant program
While Kenya is struggling with reviving the sport, Uganda, who 15 years ago were no match for Kenya in cricket is busy running their development program smoothly and increasing the numbers.
Already the Uganda Cricket Association has held their mini cricket tournaments starting from the district to regional level all the way to the national level. While Kenyan girls are struggling to get fixtures, Uganda have already held two tournaments including a T20 tournament and a six-a-side tournament. They are currently playing the 40 overs league that has six teams.
It’s not only the development that is facing challenge at CK but also the general growth of the sport. After successfully organizing the East Africa Cricket competition in 2011, CK has not held the event for two years.
The tournament that was regarded as Kenya’s top flight competition brought together over 60 local players playing amongst themselves and Uganda sides.
Sources familiar with the affairs at CK says since the appointment of Josephat Murithi as the General Manager in early January, the office at Ruaraka, there appears to have been a plethora of bad decisions which has affected the game.
Drawn from the private sector, it seems Murithi has failed to steer the game forward with many programs crumbling although no serious questions are being asked by the CK Board. One hopes that the departure of Angara could send warning signals to CK.