Tusker coach Robert Matano and his Bandari counterpart Twahir Muhiddin are leading a drive to form a new coaches’ body, the Kenya National Football Coaches Association (KENFOCA), to rival the Kenya Football Coaches Association (KEFOCA).
With local football at cross-roads after Fifa recently rejected a ruling by the Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT) nullifying Football Kenya Federation (FKF) elections for the second time in three months, football coaches too are charting an alternative union.
KEFOCA, which was formed in 1972, is currently led by former Kenyan international Ricky Solomon as the chairman with John Bob Oyugi as Secretary-General.
The idea of forming KENFOCA, which has so far registered over 170 members drawn from the Kenyan Premier League (KPL), National Super League (NSL) and other lower-tier leagues, was developed from a fundraising group for the funeral expenses of the late coach Henry Omino where a total of 168,000 shillings was collected.
As per a document seen by Standard Sports, some of the already registered elite coaches include Harambee Stars head coach Francis Kimanzi, Zedekiah Otieno (KCB) Anthony Kimani (AFC Leopards), Francis Baraza (Biashara United-Tanzania) and Mike Mururi (Sofapaka assistant coach).
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According to Matano, who is the interim chairman and assisted by Muhiddin with James Saisi serving as the treasurer, KENFOCA is a non-political body whose main priority is to empower coaches and fight for their welfare.
“There have been no developments at KEFOCA and nothing for coaches to benefit from it since the pioneers (The late James Siang’a, Marshall Mulwa and Chris Makokha) left the association. Interestingly players’ association (Kefwa) has grown better than us coaches who manage them. We don’t have a platform with any sound management,” Matano told Standard Sports.
“This idea came up during Omino’s funeral. The coaches unanimously agreed that instead of fighting with people who are benefiting through this confusion, we leave KEFOCA and create KENFOCA. We are already in the process of registering KENFOCA and forming a Sacco.”
He said: “This is not a political entity, but an association that will bring both young and old coaches together regardless of their levels of coaching. We as elite coaches, our target is to mould upcoming coaches and leave the game in safe hands.” [Rodgers Eshitemi]
Interestingly, this is not the first time a rival coaches’ body is formed ahead of the FKF elections.
In 2015, the Matano-led Kenya Elite Coaches (KEC) endorsed Nick Mwendwa for the presidential seat.
But the two-time Kenyan Premier League title winner now insists the new association will be ready to work with any elected president after the current elections impasse is solved.
“We as KENFOCA are not supporting any candidate in the FKF elections, but our association. The most important thing for us is to foster unity and fight for the welfare of our members, nothing else. We are for the development of coaches. Yes, we are affiliated to the federation, but we manage our own affairs. Therefore, we are ready to work with anybody who will be elected,” said Matano.
“KEFOCA, as it is right now, doesn’t help coaches at all. It doesn’t evaluate foreign coaches or even train the local coaches. Those in office don’t have interests of coaches and are like personal property. They’ve not even complied with some of the laws of the land. We are stagnant in terms of growth and as a senior coach, I think we are not going in the right direction. We cannot continue being used as a political tool.
“We welcome all those coaches who have not registered to join us. Registration fees is Sh1,000 per member (Sh500-membership and Sh500-association registration).”
KENFOCA Interim office
Chairman - Robert Matano
Vice Chairman - Twahir Muhhidin
Treasurer - James Saisi