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FIFA Ban Spells Doom for Kenya

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The story of elections in Kenya has always borne stormy times and the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) polls have not been spared either. Initially scheduled for October 2019, the elections are not yet concluded and now there’s a looming showdown, with a FIFA ban a big possibility.

Twice, the Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT), operating under the auspices of the Kenyan judicial system, nullified FKF elections and the turning point was when world football governing body FIFA rejected the tribunal’s recommendation to form a Normalization Committee to run Kenyan football.

FIFA also went on to reinstate the federation’s National Executive Committee (NEC) which the SDT had dissolved after canceling the FKF elections and explicitly stated that it does not recognize the SDT as a legal entity but only recognizes decisions made by the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS).

Should Kenya reject FIFA’s directive then FIFA will consider it interference by a third party and ban the Kenyan federation on account of that interference, which is in contravention with Article 13, par. 1 and article 17, par. 1 of the FIFA Statutes. Under this regulation, member associations are obliged to manage their affairs independently and with no influence from third parties; failure to heed that leads to a ban.

Just like Kenya as a country subscribes to the regulations of the United Nations (UN) as a member, similarly, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) is bound by the membership dictates of Fifa as it’s member.

A suspension of the Kenya FA from international football would have far-reaching implications on the development of the game in the country.

Among the consequences of a ban, no Kenyan team will be able to compete in international (CAF, FIFA, and CECAFA-organized) competitions whether at club level or in International friendly matches during the period of suspension in accordance with article 14 paragraph 3 of the FIFA Statutes.

The most immediate effect is that Kenya will not be cleared to participate in the upcoming 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifiers. This will mean Kenya misses out of the competition.

The ban will also affect the preparation of all other national teams. The Harambee Starlets have a series of qualification matches in preparation for the upcoming Africa Women Cup of Nations to be held in November in Tunisia starting against Tanzania on April 6th and 12th.

Women football in Kenya has particularly registered massive gains in recent times, with a number of girls securing deals abroad. Annette Kundu, Ruth Ingosi (Lakatamia, Cyprus), Corazon Aquino (Atletico Ourense), and Essie Akida (Besiktas, Turkey) are among the top players to have gained from international exposure and a FIFA ban will mean they can’t feature for the national team and will miss the chance to advance their careers. It will also mean no new talents can be scouted, or signed at the pro level.

The other impact a FIFA ban would have on Kenyan football is that the available and prospective sponsors will walk away as they will see no commercial sense with the cessation of football activities.

Over the past year, FKF has been able to secure a number of sponsorship deals that have availed funds to various levels of Kenyan football. Losing all the investment due to a ban will break the back on which Kenyan football is built. It would have a terrible effect on the projects set up by the federation and will affect future plans too.

Betika, sponsoring the second-tier league, Betway handling the FKF Cup, Odibets sponsors of the County leagues, Safaricom pumping funds into the Chapa Dimba youth tournament are among the companies partnering with FKF to keep the when of Kenyan football rolling.

In addition, neither the FKF nor any of its members or officials will benefit from any FIFA or CAF development programs, courses, training or appointments for continental and international assignments during the suspension period.

In 2019, Kenya managed to qualify for the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) for the first time in 15 years. This was greatly aided by the relative calm which brought about stability in Kenyan football during Nick Mwendwa’s administration’s first term in office after being elected in 2015. Such are gains we need to build on, and it won’t be possible with a ban staring down at us.

It is also under the current administration that the women’s national team, Harambee Starlets made history, qualifying for their maiden Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) finals, in 2016 before dethroning CECAFA Women’s Challenge Cup holders Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro Queens at the Chamazi Stadium, Dar es Salaam to lift their first-ever regional title last year.

As stakeholders in the game, we should strive to uphold the good practices that will ensure we not only operate within the stipulated regulations but also propagate the growth of the game for players’, clubs’, sponsors’ and everyone’s

The writer is the Media and Communications Expert Football Kenya Federation

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Opinion

Innocent Mutiso: We can’t let our football back to its dark days

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By Innocent Mutiso

Nyamweya has been at loggerheads with every federation since when he first lost the chairmanship to Maina Kariuki in early 2000, he thought that everyone else was doing it wrong and he can do it right.

When finally, he was given the chance and elected chairman, he didn’t do better than the predecessors he was fighting.

I decided to call during his interview with Carol Radull to confront him because he was clearly dishonest and lying blatantly to the thousands of football followers.

He said I was partisan as an employee of the federation being the chairman of the union even campaigning openly for Nick which is a total lie and he did not bully me even after the audio being played for him. First of all, KEFWA is an independent member of the federation and not employees of the federation. Secondly as a delegate according to the FKF electoral code then and now, KEFWA can endorse any candidate for the presidential seat. He threatened to disband KEFWA, the players union who in his manifesto says he will work closely with.

He said in the manifesto and also in the interview that he will build youth structures yet when he was chairman there were no youth structures, right now we have under 13 national team, under 15 national team, under 17 national team and u20 national team who have known coaches in every category, where from under 13 there is progression to the next age group that shows consistency which is very vital in football, all these were lacking during his tenure.

He said he will work with former footballers yet during his term, he threatened the footballers body president, banned former internationals Sammy Shollei and Dan Shikanda and even had a spat with ex Captain Denis Oliech whom in an interview said even if journalists fear Nyamweya he doesn’t and he will speak about how players were handled badly in Senegal and Libya yet when I confronted him about this he said it’s his office that banned the two.

All the contract disputes that are haunting the federation now can all be traced to his tenure, from Ghost Mulee, the late Henri Michel, Bobby Williamson and Adel Amrouche. Since 2016, there have been no contractual issues in court with coaches which means a lot has changed.

When asked about the MP and Silva deal that went up in smoke and why there were two premier leagues in 2015, he dodged both question and answered he is the one who gave KPL the MOU to run the league, yet we all know and I told him in the phone call that it needed the intervention of FIFA so that KPL runs the league without interference.

Feeling trapped in a corner he said that I was attacking him everywhere because am allied to Nick, yet all my questions and confrontational words are in the public domain but due to his intimidating ways, then and now. No one has ever dared question him, the two who did were Sammy Sholei and Dan Shikanda, whom he banned, so everyone used to fear him.

Nyamweya is not someone to be trusted with the youth aspiring to be footballers after he chased away Sakata Ball tournament, which was to be sponsored by Safaricom, because he wanted “administration” fee of 20% of the total money. Now, Sakata ball came back in Mwendwa’s tenure as Chapa Dimba and the branches are empowered while the youth are getting opportunities with the return.

The women’s league is now vibrant and progressive than it was before and consistency in the starlets in all age groups.

He said the success that both the women’s team and the men’s national enjoying now he was the model and he shaped them, yet during his time there were strikes left right and centre because of unpaid allowances. Since the new regime came in, there have been no sit ins over unresolved allowances.

Most important of all Nyamweya had no Secretariat, right now we have a fully fledged secretariat, anything football can be found at Kandanda house.

Innocent Mutiso is former president of Kenya Footballers Welfare Association (KEFWA)

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Opinion

OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNOR MIKE MBUVI SONKO

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By Mark Muriuki

Your Excellency clearly the Deep State is back again, *with a negative headline every day about you in their propaganda mouthpiece, the Nation Media Group.*

The question is, what is this that they are planning for Round Two?

As it stands, they are conditioning the public again as they did between August and December last year before your arrest.

I keep wondering what role Mr. President is playing in all this, and the two NIS officers assigned to you.

Because, *if they were genuine about helping you, they would not be creating problems for you in the first place and then pretend to be helping!* It is dishonest, and an indicator that they are all working for your downfall as they manage you. Also there are some statehouse senior officials who pretend to be helping you but they are just assigned to manage you.

1. They planned your arrest then pretended to come and bail you out with raising 15m cash bail immedietely you were charged.

2. They *took away your security* and haven’t returned it 5 months later but replaced it with NIS senior officers attached at statehouse. Even the other week, they wanted to take away the City Inspectorate officers assigned to you.

3. They designed a *WICKED* Deed of Transfer to finish you. Your statehouse friends and the two NIS officers attached to you knew about it, and they NEVER told you anything until you were ambushed.

4. An illegal Supplementary Budget meant to make you a ceremonial Governor was designed, discussed, passed and even gazetted under their watch, and they did nothing!

5. The worst part is, they were forcing you to withdraw your Memorandum *even without reading it*

6. Illegalities have continued to be committed, from the Head of Public Service, the Public Service Commission, KRA, the National Police Service to the National Treasury and all departments, and they are DOING NOTHING about it all. KRA now purports to open revenue accounts without involving the CEC for Finance, an illegality which is being perpetuated with wanton impunity yet they are mere agents just like Jambo Pay.

7. Your efforts to fumigate Nairobi, install sanitization booths, giving free masks and sanitizers and donate food to needy families have been frustrated for *over a month now* and they have done nothing.

8. They have revived the impeachment discussion after you threatened to pull out of the Deed of Transfer but do not be intimidated just keep on fighting you die like soldier.

*Your Excellency, are these people telling us that Kibicho, Kamanda, Elachi and their group are more powerful than the President?*

I don’t believe so. They fully know what they are doing, and they wish to continue entertaining you, to manage you as they slowly finish you Sir.

*This is my take Sir. They are determined either to get you out of office prematurely, or if that doesn’t succeed, they will do anything possible to prevent you from running for office in 2022.*

Given the above, you have two options:

1. Go full throttle in terminating the Deed. This way, they will revive your case, and introduce new ones, but you have the law and the people on your side. You will also be able to form new political alliances.

2. Because Kenyans are on your side and now know the truth that you are being forced out of office so that Uhuru and his family can take over Nairobi. Your option two just resign, because the President is the one who is against you and since he’s going to retirement, your future political career is in jeopardy.

Nairobi was not failed as they have been trying to lie to Kenyans, the first two years in office you achieved so many positive things including winning international awards no wonder Kinyua did not allow you to read your speech at Statehouse the day you were signing the Deed of transfer.

Please take my advice accordingly and act in the best interests of Nairobi voters, your supporters and the Supreme law of the country.

Yours truly;
Mark Muriuki, Nairobi political analyst

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Opinion

Four Years and The National Super League Has Awaken from Slumber

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By Johnstone Sakwa

The running of the Kenya’s second tier football league also known as the National Super League has for many years been a contentious issue by various and successive soccer management regimes.

There have been numerous complaints and disputes over manipulation of results to favour teams in the promotion to the top flight league.

Lack of transparency and corruption had been the order of the day in the past until change of guard four years ago, and take over by the current administration chaperoned by Nick Mwendwa changed the workings and efficiency through sound management.

As the chair of the National Super League (NSL), can confess that the league has been well organized and run efficiently with the deserving teams being promoted to the Kenyan Premier League (KPL).

The issue of promotion and relegation has been handled professionally in the sense that there is no manipulation as was the case before where taking a lead in the league was no guarantee for promotions.

The statistics and provision for the matches and in particular the NSL is have greatly improved and therefore given great value in decision making.

The development of football at the grass roots is a success story that must be enhanced and looking at the success of the women’s team that has placed Kenya on the map is something to appreciate.

The management of the teams representing the country at all levels in preparedness and motivation is better than the years before, it is not perfect but much better.

The efficient management which is transparent won the confidence of sponsors and for the first time in the history of Kenyan football the second tier league attracted a sponsor in Betika and the league’s matches have been broadcasted live courtesy of Bamba Sport.

It is important to say that there are shortcomings and that not all things have been achieved which requires more time and continuity to arrive at the future we all expect.

I think what has been done by FKF in a few years is what has not been done for many years and I envisage a leap into in the future with glee and anticipation of the Nick Mwendwa is given a chance devoid of interference and stumbling block in order to bring this dream even closer.

It is in the best interest of football in the country to allow the strides made through the current leadership of the FKF and particular the FKF President Mr Nick Mwendwa to continue.

The author Johnstone Sakwa is the chairman of National Super League (NSL) Governing Council and chair of NSL side Nairobi Stima

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