Kenya: New Sports PS Okudo Has His Work Cut Out for Him

President Uhuru Kenyatta has tasked Joe Okudo to work with Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed in ensuring the government’s sports agenda is successfully implemented in the last 30 months of his tenure.

In a raft of changes made to the Cabinet on Tuesday, President Kenyatta appointed Okudo the new Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Sports, Arts and Culture.

He has been picked from the Ministry of Tourism to replace Kirimi Kaberia, with Kaberia moving to the Ministry of Mining.

“I look forward to a successful working relationship with him (Okudo) ahead of the 2020 Olympics,” said Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) chairman Waithaka Kioni.

A Bachelor of Arts degree holder from the University of Nairobi with a masters degree in Business Administration from Copenhagen Business School, Okudo has his hands full as he walks into his new work station.

First, and as the chief accounting officer, Okudo inherits a ministry that has failed to implement the government’s promise of building five state-of-the-art stadiums.

Neither has the Sports Ministry managed to renovate existing sports facilities despite the Treasury pumping in millions of shillings of tax payers’ money for the same purpose.

STADIUMS PROJECTS STALLED

Instead, the stadium project appears dead and buried.

In a series of articles published last year, Nation Sport highlighted how a number of stadiums, including Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi, Kipchoge Keino in Eldoret and Marsabit Stadium remained in appalling condition despite money having been set aside to renovate them.

Delays in construction work have proven costly, with Kenyan Premier League teams being forced to travel out of Nairobi to play matches. Kenya also lost out on an opportunity to host the 2018 Africa Nations Championship (Chan) football tournament.

Okudo takes over in a busy sporting year. Kenya is preparing to send a strong contingent of about 300 athletes and officials to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo from July 24 to August 9.

Nairobi will also host the 2020 World Junior Athletics Championship July 7 to 12, the Kenya Open Golf Championship March 12 to 15, and the Safari Rally which will this year be part of the World Rally Championship, from July 16 to 19.

CRUCIAL ASSIGNMENTS

In between these activities, the Kenya Sevens rugby team will be competing in the IRB Sevens Series, while Harambee Stars have crucial assignments as Kenya seeks to qualify for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, and 2022 World Cup in Qatar.