Kenya on Sunday made sporting history by electing Jackie Zehra Janmohamed as the Chair of Cricket Kenya the first female ever to lead a Country Cricket board.
Janmohamed’s choice is a major shift for the 58-year old male dominated board, previously known as Kenya Cricket Association before it transformed to the current Cricket Kenya, CK in 2006.
“I believe I can make a difference that’s why I took up the challenge,” said Janmohammed a lawyer, after the brief Annual General meeting that endorsed her appointment to lead the new look board taking over from Samir Inamdar, who did not seek re-election.
“Cricket has been a part of me since when I was child. I grew up watching cricket and since there was no women cricket I moved into umpiring then administration,” said the new Cricket Kenya boss, a seasoned International female umpire who also served as an Assistant secretary and legal advisor in the defunct Kenya Cricket Association.
The International Cricket Council confirmed to Sportsnewsarena.com that Janmohamed is the first female to chair a country board.
“There has certainly been no female Chairperson of any of the Full member boards or with regards to the Associate and Affiliate Members,”Lucy Benjamin the Media and Communications Officer at the Dubai based ICC said.
The other top serving female in the cricket circles is Australian Jacquie Hey who was recently appointed as a Director on the board of Cricket Australia.
The headline-grabbing appointment is probably one of the few positives from Kenyan cricket struggling as an associate member, a far cry for a country that a decade ago was lobbying for a deserved test status.
A challenge the strong willed chairperson has placed top of the new boards’ agenda.
“My priority is to ensure that Kenya restores its lost glory because as we know that the most notable pointer of the local game is the performance of the national team.”
Rift Valley, Coast did not attend the AGM
Even as she outlined her immediate plans of ensuring the Under 19, Women and men’s senior teams qualification for their respective World Cup, she has to reach out to the other two branches Rift Valley and Coast who together with Nairobi Province Cricket Association, NPCA constitute the CK board.
Rift valley and Coast did not send their delegates to Sunday meeting observed by by the Africa Cricket Association and National Sports council,discontented with the dominance of the strongest representative NPCA in keyboard posts.
“We plan to meet the Rift valley and Coast to know why they did not send their representatives which is a mandatory requirement of our constitution. Thus four positions on the board remain unfilled,” explained Janmohamed.
The meeting rubberstamped Anil Patel as the Vice Chariman, Chidam Subramaniam as treasurer and Kalpesh Solanki as the Director of development. Rajesh Patel and Harpal Singh will serve as Nairobi’s representatives in the board.
“I would like today to make a covenant of uniting everyone for the benefit of the sport and my only agenda will be to grow the sport.”
Board will look into appointment of a new CEO
Another immediate task for her will be the appointment of a Chief Executive Officer, since the expiry Tom Sears term last June.
It will be interesting to see whether the new board will replace Robin Brown, the Zimbabwean appointed as Head of Elite development seven months ago but has been serving as Kenya coach following the resignation of New Zealander Mike Hesson.
“My administration will not cut any branches but will instead take care of the roots that run deep,” she said in reference to the structures put in place by her predecessor Inamdar who took the chance to summarise the highs and lows of his seven and a half tenure since he took over in 2005.
She also promised to incorporate former Kenyan players into the running of the game.Kenya is currently playing Uganda in series of matches in Nairobi.