Kenya Golf Guide

Robinson Owiti during the interview today.


A fall out between top amateur golfers and Kenya Golf Union (KGU) officials look imminent after another controversial mode of selection for the national team to represent the country at this year’s Africa Zone VI Championships to be held at the Denonvale Golf Club in South Africa between April 14 and 17.

Already the top amateurs led by Vet Lab’s Robinson Owiti who captained the national team to the East Africa Challenge victory last year, are threatening to pull out of the annual golfer of the year series if proper channels are not used to select the national team.

Their main concern being the criteria used in picking the national team and the fact that some players were picked despite not having a genuine playing record as reported.

The team in question comprises of Vet Lab’s Nelson Simwa, Royal’s Jay Sandhu, Justus Madoya of the Great Rift Valley, Golf Park’s Tony Omuli, Erick Ooko of Royal, Sigona’s Mohit Mediratta and Nyali’s trio Daniel Nduva, Mathew Wahome and Adel Balala.

The top players most of them missing from the team selected a week ago, feel the Goty performance could have been used to pick the squad to play at the highly rated competition which Kenya last won in 2010 when it was held in Botswana.

A similar raw erupted over the criteria of the team’s selection last year where some top players were left out of the team and Kenya ended up finishing the competition in a disappointing fifth position in Namibia.

“We want to meet with union officials to have some questions answered before the team selected leaves for South Africa. We are not satisfied with the mode of selection of the national team and the preference of some players,” said Owiti who is a member of Vet Lab Golf Club.

According to the KGU rules on the selection of the national team, the selection has always been pegged on the performance of players in the golfer of the year competition, but this year the union decided to use a 54-hole qualifying tournament to pick the squad and in the process, top players including the reigning golfer of the year, Limuru’s John Karichu current leader in the golfer of the year William Odero and Owiti missed out.

“How is it possible to have a national team without the reigning best amateur in country and the current leader of the Goty series. We have always known that the Goty series is normally the one used to select national players and by introducing a qualifying tournament to select a national team, where does it leave the Goty series,” posed Owiti.

He added: “The future of Goty highly looks bleak, because players always ensure to play in the series to perform well and be eligible to play for the national team, by introducing a qualifying tournament it means that players should only wait for the qualify to be picked to the national team and not play the Goty series.”

Owiti also questioned KGU’s decision on changing the format of the competition from 72-holes to 36-holes and later to 54-holes, which he claims is against the Royal and Ancient rules.

He also questioned the selection of Mohit Mediratta whom he said there were no records of him playing abroad and the inclusion of Nduva in the team despite the fact that he is no longer a junior and didn’t feature in the qualifying event.

“A national team should have the best of the best and age should never hinder anyone from playing for the national team, because there is never an age limit in any event in the country,” Owiti said.

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