Let new regime bring sanity to Kenyan football

AFC Leopards supporters cheer the team during a past match against Bandari FC at Mombasa County Stadium.  [Maarufu Mohamed, Standard]

The conundrum in Kenyan football is not ending anytime soon if recent happenings are anything to go by.

A few days after retaining their Football Kenya Premier League status through promotion/relegation playoffs, Wazito FC have announced that they will not participate in the upcoming 2022/23 season. 

They say they won’t kick a ball until the confusion surrounding the management of the game and the league is resolved. According to Wazito, whose current situation is a painful reflection of the other struggling clubs in the country, the sad state of football has made it difficult for investors to pump adequate money into the beautiful game.

The decision seems to have opened a can of worms, which the incoming government and the Football Kenya Federation office must deal with after the expiry of the FKF Transition Committee’s term on August 15.

On Wednesday, the Transition Committee released a statement urging clubs to look for alternative funding for incoming season.

The announcement came barely a few days after the committee released fixtures for the new season with the first game set for September 10 raising questions on their motive to rush for the league’s kickoff without a solid plan and funds for financially crippled clubs. It appears they never learnt from last season’s experience that saw a few clubs fail to honour matches due to lack of money. The committee has literally shot itself in the foot. 

But it goes without saying, the committee will leave the situation worse than they found it. The committee (caretaker) was installed into office by Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed in November 2021, following the disbandment of the Nick Mwendwa-led team.

The move prompted world football governing body, Fifa, to suspend Kenya from all international football activities citing government interference.

Both Fifa and the government have turned a deaf ear to stakeholders and players’ call for dialogue and formation of an all-inclusive Normalisation Committee.

And Kenyans have had to pay the price for the suspension since it has had dire implications on the development of the game here.

From national teams, clubs and referees being locked out of international competitions, to delayed payment of referees’ salaries and disbursement of funds to clubs, match fixing allegations, the current state of Kenyan football is unfortunate.

Tusker FC and Vihiga Queens FC are the latest victims of the impasse as they were recently omitted from the CAF Champions League despite winning the men and women’s Premier League titles respectively. With Fifa seemingly ready for dialogue, the incoming government must move with speed to engage them and resolve the standoff. 

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