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FKF set to issue Covid-19 passports to all players

FOOTBALL By Rodgers Eshitemi | April 11th 2021
Top FKF scorer Eric Kapaito of Kariobangi Sharks FC after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine at Kasarani Stadium as they await the resumption of FKF leagues. Saturday, April 10, 2021. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) will issue Covid-19 passports to all FKF Premier League players and officials ahead of the league’s resumption, FKF president Nick Mwendwa has said.

While pleading with the government to allow the resumption of football in the country moments after leading 11-Nairobi based clubs in a vaccination drive at Kasarani Stadium yesterday, Mwendwa feels a quick return to Premier League action will play a vital role Harambee Stars’ preparation for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

On March 26, President Uhuru Kenyatta indefinitely suspended all sporting activities in the country and imposed partial lockdown in Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Kiambu and Nakuru counties as one of the measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The directive came just when 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 after spearheading the exercise that saw about 800 players and officials from Gor Mahia, AFC Leopards, Tusker, KCB and Wazito among other city-based clubs vaccinated, Mwendwa is confident the 2020/21 season will be played to its conclusion.

Bandari, Ulinzi Stars, Kakamega Homeboyz, Nzoia Sugar, Vihiga United, Western Stima and Zoo players are set to be vaccinated in their respective counties on Tuesday.

“We had about 800 vaccines for Nairobi-based teams, but other clubs will have the vaccination in their respective counties. We expect to have vaccinated all the Premier League players in the country by Tuesday before starting the exercise on the other level of football,” said Mwendwa.

“Every vaccination comes with a unique number issued by the Ministry. So, after today, FKF will issue a Covid-19 passport to every player and official. You will not be able to access any football venue without the Covid-19 passport.”

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He added: “It is my hope that we will not be forced to cancel the league this season because I’m sure football will be back in less than three weeks. But since we are still in April, the league can continue until September that’s only if the restart is delayed up to May or June. I’m optimistic we will have the league’s champion by July latest.”

Gor Mahia captain Harun Shakava and Wazito defender Johnstone Omurwa revealed how the lockdown has turned their lives upside down.

“The suspension of the league has been a big blow to us because we have not been training together. Since we have been vaccinated, we urge the President to allow us to go back to the pitch because that’s our only source of income,” said Shakava.

Omurwa added: “It is disheartening because this is the second time the league has been suspended. We are really going through tough situations.”

 

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