Battle lines drawn as FKF national elections take place today
FOOTBALL By Gilbert Wandera | February 10th 2016
After many twists and turns, Football Kenya Federation’s (FKF) much-awaited national elections are on today and the battle for the top post has been narrowed down to three candidates.
The electoral board cleared six candidates to contest for the top post, but after weeks of campaign, only three of them --- Kariobangi Sharks chairman Nick Mwendwa, Gor Mahia chairman and incumbent Sam Nyamweya are considered serious contenders for the position.
The other three candidates Gor Ssemalango, Sammy Aina and former international Sammy Sholei have somehow been overtaken by events and are considered outsiders in the race. One of them, Semelango even ‘registered’ a rival body which claimed to run the sport, although the government denied knowledge of the body’s existence. He said yesterday he cannot take part in an illegality because FKF has not conformed with the Sports Act.
Nyamweya faces his toughest battle for re-election, coming at a time when the country’s football standards are at an all-time low.
Nyamweya was elected four years ago after different factions that claimed to be running the sport agreed to come together for the good of Kenyan football.
However, four years down the line, football seems to be lagging behind. The national team have failed to qualify for any major competitions and the only trophy they have won is the Senior Challenge Cup in 2013 when the country hosted a shambolic tournament.
Under Nyamweya’s reign, most sponsors have run away from football and he will find it difficult to convince majority of the 77 delegates to give him a second term.
Mwendwa goes into this polls on the back of an impressive record, running FKF-PL side Kariobangi Sharks. He founded the club in 2000 and has been bank-rolling it since then.
Mwendwa’s campaign machinery, under the team change banner, has brought together officials who were dissatisfied with Nyamweya’s reign and are determined to make a clean break with the past.
Ambrose Rachier heads Gor Mahia, the country’s most supported club and, under his watch, the team has won three league titles. Recently, the club signed a multi-million shilling sponsorship deal with betting firm SportPesa.
Rachier made a late entry into the race to succeed Nyamweya, but has managed to galvanise quite a few votes to his camp. Sports Commissioner Gordon Oluoch has urged football delegates voting in today’s football elections to elect candidates who have a vision for the sport.
Oluoch said today provides a perfect opportunity to turn around the management of the sport.
“We hope that delegates will elect men and women of integrity as well as people who have a vision for the sport,” he said.
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