Football Preparations for International Competitions Suffer as Sports Ministry Disobeys Presidential Directive

President Uhuru Kenyatta in his labour day address allowed for the resumption of sporting activities pending the release of Covid 19 protocols from the Ministry of Sports.

Announcing the new directive on Saturday, May 1, during Labour Day celebrations, President Uhuru said the government reached the decision after COVID-19 infections reduced significantly.

The Head of State, however, pointed out that the resumption shall be guided by the regulations issued by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ministry of Sports headed by Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed.

Twelve days later the Ministry seems to have defied the presidentโ€™s directive as it has not spoken and has done nothing on the same as sports activities especially football is in an unnecessary lull and continued delay.

The begging question is how long does it take for the ministry to come up with regulations as per the directive.

When the Ministry lifted the ban on football last year in November which saw the resumption of the sport, it issued guidelines that included matches being played in empty stadiums and COVID-19 tests for teams, officials and staff.

The Football Kenya Federation moved swiftly and tested players, officials, and staff of the FKF Premier League and the National Super League by financing the process from the federationโ€™s coffers and in compliance with social distancing policies, strict return-to-play protocols, banned fans from attending league matches amongst other rafts of measures.

Just recently, the federation went a notch higher by negotiating with the Sports ministry to have footballers vaccinated.

Since the president lifted the ban on sports activities, the Sports ministry has kept silent and has not even bothered to invite federation officials on consultations on a safe return to football activities.

Football is now in a state of confusion even as there are impending and upcoming international assignments expected to take place.

Africaโ€™s football governing body, CAF has directed Football Kenya Federation (FKF) to provide names of clubs that will represent the country in continental competitions by June 30, the league is not yet past the first leg.

The FKF Cup which is used to select a team for the CAF Confederationโ€™s Cup has reached the round of the last 16 which was suspended after the government banned sports. This year the country was not represented in the Confederations Cup competition because the tournament was not concluded due to the suspension of sporting activities after the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in Kenya.

The league winners are supposed to represent their country in the Africa Champions League whereas the FKF Cup champions are to be entered for Confederationโ€™s competition.

Kenya is expected to begin their road to the 2022 Fifa World Cup and the Africa Womenโ€™s Cup of Nations (AWCON).

Kenyaโ€™s menโ€™s national football team Harambee Stars whore expected to play their opening World Cup qualifier against Uganda on June 6, 2021, luckily for Kenya the men qualifiers have been moved to September, while womenโ€™s team Harambee Starlets was on Monday, drawn to play South Sudan in their first AWCON qualifying match set to be played in June.

Pauline Nabwire is a former football player and currently a sports writer at Kenya Online Newsย