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Olunga calls for return to FKF Premier League action

FOOTBALL By Rodgers Eshitemi | April 1st 2021
Harambee Stars' Michael Olunga drives the ball past John Revita of Cranes of Uganda during a friendly match at Kasarani Stadium on Sunday, Sept 8, 2019. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa believes a quick return to FKF Premier League action will help in national team Harambee Stars’ preparations ahead of 2022 World Cup Qualifiers in June.

This comes barely a week after President Uhuru Kenyatta indefinitely suspended all sporting activities in the country and imposed partial lock-down in Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Kiambu and Nakuru counties as one of the measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The directive came just as the league was taking shape with each team having played at least 14 matches (three less than halfway mark) behind closed doors and in adherence to the Covid-19 protocol.

But having already engaged Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed, Mwendwa said his federation is set to vaccinate all Premier League players and officials before resumption.

“The CS has told me to write to the Sports Ministry. She is keen that if we implement some of the things to prevent the spread of Covid-19, then we can get back to action as soon as possible,” said Mwendwa

"We have been playing behind closed doors (without fans), but since the vaccines are here, she (Amina) wants us to vaccinate all our players and officials in the league. But moving forward, the issues of PCR tests will not arise again more so, in international matches after a vaccine certificate is issued.

Football Kenya Federation president Nick Mwendwa. [David Njaaga, Standard]

“It is because of our active league that our players were sharp against Egypt and Togo. For a player like Hassan (Abdallah) to score three goals in three matches speak a lot about the level of our league and that’s why we must have our league going on as we head into the World Cup qualifiers in June.”

Mwendwa’s sentiments were echoed by Harambee Stars captain Michael Olunga who was impressed by the performance of the local-based players in their last two 2021 Afcon qualifiers matches against Egypt (1-1) and Togo (1-2).

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“The World Cup qualifiers is going to be a different competition altogether because the magnitude of the competition is much bigger than Afcon. Each player knows the seriousness of the games,” said Olunga.

“But the only challenge is with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s decision to ban sports because the qualifiers are coming up very soon. I hope it's not going to affect us.”

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