Kenyan Women’s Net Ball Team Stranded in South Africa For Lack of Payment
After landing in Cape Town for the African Cup, the national women's team learned the Kenyan government refused to pay for their lodging and gave no food stipends.
The Kenyan Women's national netball team is homeless and hungry in Cape Town after playing in the African Cup because the government is refusing to pay the lodging for the team. In fact, they never did pay any lodging. In an Instagram post by The Score KE host Carol Radull, the saga of the women's team unfolds, detailing how the players have been in South Africa since last Friday without any funds for shelter or food—playing the whole tournament on empty stomachs and without a place to comfortably rest. Needless to say, the team and Kenyans the world over are both angry and embarrassed at the government's actions.
Radull's post begins with the words "PLEASE Try not to cry…" Her post goes on to say that the women arrived in Cape Town on October 18 via their government supplied airplane tickets and entry visas, but once they arrived to their hotel they were denied entry as "your government has not paid." After their first day of play, the issue still had not been resolved and they began exercising other options which quickly morphed into relying on the care and empathy of strangers. Radull explains:
A Kenyan who lives in Cape Town and knew one team member felt sorry for them, bought them bread and milk and took them to a lodge owned by a Cameroonian lady who agreed to house them as "your government settles the bill." The Cameroonian lady has been feeding them when she can afford to, at her cost but most of the time, the girls sleep hungry. They won one game against Malawi but lost all the others. The girls are due to leave tomorrow though the lodge owner will retain some passports until bills are cleared. When contacted yesterday by officials from the team, the government ALLEGEDLY said: "before issuing payment for hotels we need three different quotes to show why a particular hotel was selected." That was yesterday. The girls have been hustling since Friday morning. I broke down while speaking to someone on the ground a few minutes ago. I have tried to call the Sports Ministry but no answer. This is shameful and disgusting. These girls deserve better and sadly this isn't the first team facing such an issue. This is the #ShameOfRepresentingKenya in Sport.
The events in the caption have not been confirmed by OkayAfrica. The women are set to return to Kenya tomorrow, assuming their return ticket is paid for. However, if the government has not settled the lodging bills, some of the women will not be allowed to go as the lodge owner is holding some passports for payment. The post has sparked more use of the hashtag #ShameOfRepresentingKenya on social media. Kenyans are taking to the medium to show how upset, angry and disillusioned with their government they are. Many also speak of the embarrassment that is present when it should instead be a moment of pride. See some of the responses below.