On today’s feature we want to learn about Peter Obalo Kabaso, who is considered one of the best umpires in hockey within Kenya and the African continent. He is a man admired and respected in the hockey field by both players and umpires who look up-to him for guidance and inspiration. Peter’s long journey in hockey started playing hockey in 1999 when he joined Khamis High School in Mombasa County.
He later joined The Mombasa Institute and this is the only club that he played for. Obalo started off as an Mombasa County Hockey Association (MCHA) umpire in 2014. He later graduated into a Kenya Hockey Umpires Association (KHUA) umpire in March 2015. His first major career highlight came in 2015 when he attended his first international tournament. He says “I went for my 1st international tournament as an umpire in October 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa.”
There have been many other high moments and low moments too. His low point as an umpire came when he witnessed open bias during a school competition where he witnessed an umpire’s open favouritism towards a team where he was an alumnus.
The journey has not been easy for him. He says most Kenyan hockey fans are very negative to new umpires. This negativity is not the best environment for learning. Peter says once an umpire has mastered to officiate irrespective of the noise then it becomes easy to progress. He notes that it is a lot easier internationally as the fans aren’t too negative. He has a simple way of looking at the highs and lows of being an umpire of the game. “Lows,” he says, ” is doing your best and people don’t appreciate the effort.” And high moments is “officiating in the big FIH tournaments like the Commonwealth games, Junior Olympics and Junior World Cup.”
The need to raise the standards of hockey in the country to a very high level is Peter Obalo’s motivation. Also he wants to make sure that matches are officiated in the most fairest way ensuring all participants leave the field contented with the officiating. He recently set a new goal which is to increase the number of competent officials both locally & internationally.
He said it has been good for him being in the international forum. The networking is amazing. It feels nice when he goes abroad and people either know him or have heard about him.
The hockey out there is on another level, breath-taking and lovely to watch.Said Peter
To the ladies and gentlemen out there… We all have a part to play in building, strengthening and raising the standards of hockey in Kenya within our different capacities, be it as a player, coach, umpire, technical official, or administrator Let’s work together and not against each other.Peter Obalo
For those who are interested in officiating, Peter says they are welcome! Please join them in KHUA, they need all the support possible to help manage the many KHU league matches since they have more teams joining every year. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the rules, he will help you learn as we journey together.
If he is not blowing the whistle, Obalo works for Kenya Redcross Society as the County Logistics Officer for Nairobi branch. He is also the Hon. Secretary General of KHUA.