Kenyan coaches welfare also an issue

“Coaches should come together and form Saccos where they can help one another in times of emergencies. At a personal level, it is also important to have a medical cover as simple as NHIF. It could come in handy during such times”

In his peak, Benjamin Ayimba used to be one of the most renowned names in the sporting world and most of all, Rugby.

He is most known to have made the history books as the Kenyan national men’s sevens rugby head coach that led them to their first ever HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series title in 2016 at the Singapore Sevens.

This is why, the fact that he is struggling to pay a SH2 million hospital bill after a long hard battle with cerebral malaria is such an unfortunate thing to hear.

The rugby legend that led to Kenya’s first championship has to resort to fundraising just to offset his hospital bill, this goes to show the painful sacrifice some local coaches have to go through for the growth of the sport.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg, reports says many former coaches are now wallowing in poverty as their proteges’ careers flourish.

The head coach at Women’s Premier League side Vihiga Queens, Alex Alumira has also said that they spend a lot of resources building their players’ careers only to fall penniless in the end.

“Too much passion is sometimes detrimental. Most of us, especially ladies’ teams who are rarely paid, spend our resources to cater for their needs. If you are not earning huge sums like our counterparts in Europe, then you will suffer in times of adversity,” he said in a n interview.

Paul Kemei, an athletics coach and owner of Lemotit Athletics Camp in Kericho, agreed with him.

“Whatever we get, we divert it to the junior athletes because most of them come from humble backgrounds and cannot fend for all their needs. Unfortunately, our efforts go to waste when the athlete eventually realizes his or her potential. Many of them are manipulated by other coaches and they forget their roots,” he said.

“Coaches should come together and form Saccos where they can help one another in times of emergencies. At a personal level, it is also important to have a medical cover as simple as NHIF. It could come in handy during such times,” Kemei says.

“In addition to that, there is a need for an insurance scheme for the coaches. I have heard of reports of negotiations with an insurance firm to develop such a cover for coaches. I hope that it succeeds,” he says.