EA Cup & Premier League Mid Season Review

No, no this blogger hasn’t forgotten about the biggest thing to hit regional cricket since…well probably ever. The t20 East Africa Premier League and its 50 over counterpart the East Africa Cup are tournaments launched by Cricket Kenya to raise the standard of local cricket and provide a bigger yardstick by which to gauge the readiness of local talent to cope with the rigours of international competition. It comprises of 6 franchises, of which 4 are Kenyan and 2 are Uganda based. The Kenya franchises are: Kongonis, Nairobi Buffaloes, Coast Pekee and Rift Valley Rhinos. Uganda’s teams are known as Ruwenzori Warriors and the Nile Knights. In both leagues these teams are to play each home and away in a round robin pool after which the top two teams will square off in finals that will be televised live on Pay TV channel. Supersport. The first edition started in August and is due to run through to late October. Back story aside, at the halfway stage of this season a Ugandan team leads the standings in both competitions. Yes folks a UGANDAN team! Despite surms being the weaker cricketing nation, Uganda’s Ruwenzori Warriors lead the logs of both the T20 EAPL and 50 over EA Cup. Nile Knights are second in the t20 cup with Nairobi based Kongonis second in the 50 over competition If any excuses are to be made for this state of affairs it is probably that Uganda’s franchises have been at full strength right through the tournament whilst Kenya’s teams were weakened by the absence of key players who were absent on national duty. However, more likely this competition has nerdsly shown that, aside from a small core of players with international exposure, Kenya doesn’t have the kind of human resources on the playing side needed to match the ambitions of its fans and administrators. That aside there’s also been the old spectre of the board v. the players row which saw 8 player from Kongonis and R. Valley walk out on their team on the grounds of central contracts issues, only to be suspended for the remainder of the season. Nevertheless when players did play, the general level of competitiveness of the matches (esp the fighting spirit shown by Rift Valley in the t20s) means that as if they can get local communities into the action them interest will surely grow. Off the field, the involvement of South African Pay TV channel Supersport is a massive achievement on Cricket Kenya’s part and possibly another incident of local broadcasters sleeping on the job despite a supposed hunger for local content to meet CCK’s requirements. This has the potential of becoming an enormous boon for the game and like has been the case with the KPL and Bamburi Rugby Super Series. However for that to happen again Cricket Kenya has it to find a way to charm locals in the same way they always seen to charm the ICC, Supersport, and a host of other internationally based organisations to make this happen. All in all whilst as an initiative the East Africa Cup and Premier League are fantastic initiatives, my hope is that they do not turn the other aspects of Cricket Kenya’s mandates (particularly taking the game to every corner of our country) into the proverbial elephant in the room.

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Author: kimemiamaina

blogger, writer, dreamer...

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