Ministry of Sports, Culture & Heritage
- Outgoing Chief Administrative Secretary, Hon. Hassan Noor Hassan,
- Incoming Chief Administrative Secretary, Zack Kinuthia,
- Principal Secretary, State Department for Sports, Joe Okudo
- President, Kenya Basketball Federation
- The Basketball Board of Directors and Board Members present
- Distinguished players
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a great honour to host you for this luncheon to celebrate the historic win by our gallant national team which stamped your qualification for the FIBA AfroBasket Championships to be hosted by Rwanda in August this year. Yours has been a story of exceptional triumph and outstanding growth. Because of your dedication, patriotism, selfless drive and charge towards excellence, you have earned the right to return to the African FIBA Championships for the first time in 28 years since our country last participated in 1993.
Yours is a great achievement during a sporting calendar heavily disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic that led to the postponement of major sporting events worldwide and the delayed resumption of training and competitions.
I thank each and every one of you, especially coach Elizabeth Mills who has steered the team through a very turbulent period in sporting and made history. Through her leadership and indeed, your discipline, respect and commitment, you have defied all odds nationally, regionally and internationally. I do not have to mention that your cooperation and team cohesion sets a monumental example to everyone watching from all corners of the world. You have become legends. A source of pride to our country and the most significant ambassadors of our character and spirit as a nation.
The Ministry follows a leadership model which puts the athlete at the centre of all our decisions. Therefore, the team and your needs are of the utmost priority to our operations. We want to keep you motivated and to reward you for honouring the flag of our beautiful country. As such, the State Department for Sports will clear any outstanding Cash Awards due and continue to release these Awards to all eligible athletes in a coordinated manner. I also urge the Officials of all Federations to work closely with the Ministry to provide the requisite data to facilitate the release of Cash Awards. Your collaboration will secure our joint accountability and smooth release of the Cash Awards.
I assure you that the Ministry will fully facilitate your pre-competition camp ahead of the FIBA AfroBasket Championships in Kigali and cover the cost of participation. I direct the office of the Acting Commissioner for Sports to ensure that all the training needs of the Team and competition prerequisites are addressed in a timely and properly synchronised manner. I also direct the Resumption to Sporting Activities Committee headed by the Chief Administrative Secretary, Hon. Simon Kachapin to work closely with the Ministry of Health to secure the
application of the protocols to secure the health and safety of all Teams preparing for upcoming regional and international competitions, including the Tokyo, 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Your health and safety during training and while on international competitions is our core consideration. therefore, the Ministry will ensure that you are hosted in a bubble pre-competition camp which will be insulated against any COVID-19 threats.
As I conclude, I wish to thank the Kenya Basketball Federation Management and the Team the sponsors who have contributed generously towards the Team’s needs. I encourage other private sector players to join Government in co-sponsoring sporting activities and are happy to mention that the Ministry is working to formalise the relationship between Kenya and the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) to harmonise these efforts and support the growth of sports as a commercially viable source of decent livelihoods. I also urge other Federation to work within the confines of the Sports Act to advance sports in the country. Federations play a crucial role in Teams’ success and must therefore ensure that their governance structures are democratic and inclusive.
Kenya was the first African country to align the National Anti-doping Law to the World Anti-Doping Code, 2021 marking our commitment to clean and fair sport. Our motto is to win clean at all times. We will therefore not hesitate to prosecute aiders and abetters of doping and doping practices.
Lastly, I welcome you back home and wish you well as you prepare for the upcoming AfroBasket Championships. I also wish all the athletes preparing for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the FIA/WRC Safari Rally Championships, World Athletics Under 20 Championships Nairobi 2021, the Continental Tour and all other major Championships the very best.