Kalen­jin tribe can teach us a thing or two

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - SPORT - @KenBor­land Ken Bor­land

The Kalen­jin tribe of Kenya’s Rift Val­ley are fa­mous for their dom­i­nance of long-dis­tance run­ning, numer­ous world and Olympic cham­pi­ons hav­ing come from their pop­u­la­tion of about five mil­lion, a stag­ger­ing sta­tis­ti­cal anom­aly that has had sports sci­en­tists scram­bling to study them.

While sci­en­tists have pointed to a com­plex in­ter­ac­tion be­tween ge­netic and so­cio-eco­nomic fac­tors for their suc­cess, the Kalen­jin run­ners are also fa­mous for their sto­icism and en­durance. It is that com­bined with nat­u­ral abil­i­ties, that makes them world-beat­ers. They use the word “tai” as an ex­hor­ta­tion to keep go­ing for­ward and they cer­tainly do just that.

Much of the work on the per­se­ver­ing, “no gain with­out pain” Kalen­jin has been done at the Univer­sity of Cape Town and per­haps the cricket fra­ter­nity based in the city that en­joys the best stan­dard of liv­ing in the coun­try needs to go and study up on key traits for sport­ing suc­cess like de­ter­mi­na­tion and not blam­ing your fail­ures on your op­po­si­tion.

The RamSlam T20 Chal­lenge fi­nal takes place to­day in Cen­tu­rion and some of the Cape Co­bras man­age­ment and me­dia seem to be­lieve that they are not there due to some in­cred­i­ble con­spir­acy that in­volves the Ti­tans and the weather con­spir­ing against them.

Never mind the fact that the star-stud­ded Co­bras team did not win their first three games and then threw away a win­ning po­si­tion in their last round-robin match, where vic­tory would have seen them host­ing the semi­fi­nal against the Dol­phins that was washed out on Thurs­day evening in Dur­ban.

As the 2019 World Cup nears and the men­tal for­ti­tude of our play­ers is once again put un­der the most ruth­less of mi­cro­scopes, it is alarm­ing that many of our Proteas are play­ing in an en­vi­ron­ment where ex­cuse-mak­ing, blam­ing oth­ers and even ac­cus­ing other teams of match-fix­ing is en­cour­aged.

The Ti­tans, by top­ping the ta­ble by miles, earned the right to pre­pare for their semi­fi­nal in what­ever man­ner they saw fit, and they de­cided to spare their lead­ing play­ers the ex­er­tions of trav­el­ling to Cape Town to play yes­ter­day, then to Dur­ban to play on to­mor­row and then re­turn­ing to Cen­tu­rion on Mon­day, leav­ing just one day to pre­pare for the knock­out match.

Such are the re­wards for per­for­mance and they should be praised for the high stan­dards they have brought to the com­pe­ti­tion, not tainted by slan­der­ous al­le­ga­tions in the Cape that they were in­volved in some sort of match-fix­ing.

In­stead of try­ing to bring ev­ery­one down to their un­der-per­form­ing stan­dards, the Co­bras, who have a wealth of tal­ent at their dis­posal, should rather be fo­cused on bridg­ing the gap be­tween them­selves and the Ti­tans.

In keep­ing with the sore losers im­age they are cul­ti­vat­ing so well in Cape Town, some of their me­dia were quick to jump all over the Ti­tans for only field­ing five play­ers of colour in their semi­fi­nal win over the War­riors, due to Henry Davids man­gling his knee shortly be­fore the toss.

The word from Cricket South Africa is that there will be no ac­tion taken against the Ti­tans be­cause the move was cleared by the head of their trans­for­ma­tion com­mit­tee, Max Jor­daan, be­fore­hand. It was a com­mon sense de­ci­sion be­cause four min­utes be­fore the toss is hardly the time to rush some­one in from out­side the squad with­out a warm-up.

There was no com­plaint from the War­riors, ei­ther, but there will al­ways be that el­e­ment in the Western Cape that knows bet­ter, watch­ing from their van­tage point be­hind the moun­tain.

It seems there will al­ways be the haters in SA sport when a team en­joys pro­longed suc­cess.

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