Abandoning Footballers in Hotel Without Allowances Stinks to High Heavens

As expected, football is in turmoil following the disappointing performance of Harambee Stars against Mauritius at the Safaricom Stadium, Kasarani last weekend.

The fact that the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) abandoned the players at their hotel without allowances is nothing short of scandalous, with some national team players having to ask their clubs for money. I mentioned last week about how shockingly incompetent the FKF had become, with there being no end to how low the officials can sink as they cling on to power.

Cape Verde is waiting for Kenya in the next round of the World Cup preliminaries. A country of just 10 volcanic islands off the northwest coast of West Africa with a population of 525,000, Cape Verde has shown the rest of footballing Africa what a small country can do. Ranked 41st in the world and having beaten a largely second string Portugal 2-0 in an international friendly back in March, the shambolic FKF has plenty of reasons to be worried.

The federation is already claiming that they don’t have the money to finance the team for the clash, saying that the government should be funding the squad for international assignments as per the Sports Act. That is rich coming from an association not recognised by the Sports Act! The arrogant officials running football’s governing body have ignored the Government for years, and now when they are in the doghouse financially they have to run back to the same body that they refused to acknowledge!

With the elections just around the corner there has been plenty of mudslinging, with candidates claiming that ‘fake’ clubs have been added to the ballot and legitimate ones removed.

The government is trying to muscle in control of the sport without incurring the wrath of Fifa, who demand a no government interference policy, by holding a stakeholders’ meeting on Thursday that was hosted by Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario. Conspicuously absent from the meeting was FKF president Sam Nyamweya.

Wario said in the meeting that the Government would formally lodge a complaint to Fifa regarding the elections modalities, and added that the State would take over all the responsibilities of managing Harambee Stars. Whether the latter will happen is open to debate as it could be construed as government interference, although FKF and Fifa have very few other options right now as Kenya’s pride is at stake. Wario confirmed that a ‘special board will be formed to lead the team’, adding that the board will pay the players, technical bench and cater for all other expenses incurred by the team. The aim is to ensure the national team’s performances and Fifa rankings improve; and this will be a welcome relief for the players and members of the technical bench, who’ve longed complained about sub-standard treatment from the FKF.