Dr. Wycliffe W. Njororai Simiyu is a PhD holder in Physical Education and Sport from Kenyatta University in Kenya. He is currently an Associate Professor of Physical Education and Coordinator of Physical Education Curriculum at Wiley College- the Home of the Great Debaters Movie- in Marshall, East Texas. He has previously taught at Kenyatta University where he was Athletics Director and later Chairman of the Department of Exercise, Recreation and Sport Science. He also possesses various coaching certificates in Soccer from Confederation of African Football, Track and Field from the prestigious University of Leipzig in Germany, Rugby from Kenya Rugby Football Union, Netball from Kenya Netball Association, Tug of War, Special Olympics Inc., among others. He is passionate about sport and has published widely on various sporting themes. He is married and has two daughters and one son.
Globalization, Television and Club Football in Kenya
Abstract: Association football (soccer) has always been the most popular sport in Kenya and its popularity cuts across ethnic, regional as well as class lines. This passion is not unique to Kenya. Soccer scholars have pointed out the widespread and popular nature of football across the globe. Paul Darby, for example argues that ‘Since its inception in 1904, following an initiative by seven European nations, FIFA and the sport which it governs have taken on an almost universal significance and appeal’. He argues that FIFA has more affiliates than the United Nations and the majority of the word’s population takes a greater interest in the former than the latter. This demonstrates that football is a universal sport that is followed passionately by people diverse backgrounds, nationality and social class. The diffusion of football into Kenya occurred as a vehicle for colonization which pre-dated the current globalization processes. Globalization is portrayed as involving the spread of Western liberal values and norms of sports practice and organization. However, indigenous Kenyans took up football and transformed it to suit their cultures and temperament. However, over time football, which was once a thriving sector that brought joy and excitement due to successes registered on the field and off it in the 1980’s is now struggling. Football clubs no longer win in regional competitions, are eliminated at the preliminary rounds in continental competitions, clubs are folding up, matches hardly attract spectators and the once thriving ethnic based teams such as AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia rooted in the Luhya and Luo communities respectively are on the verge of collapse. The latter two no longer attract passionate following and committed team leaders with a vision. This article further explores the role of Satellite Television and European football in the decline of local football club following. It is concluded that Local football leaders need to wake up to the reality of global competition, football marketing, branding, professional management and visionary leadership if Kenya is to revive its vitality in football at the national, regional and global levels.