Pain, strain and hopelessness as FIFA gives Kenya red card

Harambee Stars' Joash Onyango (R) is given a red card as his teammate plead with the referee during their AFCON qualifier against Ghana at the Kasarani Stadium in 2019 [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

And so, it came to pass. Kenya has been suspended from all international football activities.

After daring the world football governing body Fifa, the moment most Kenyan football fans were fearing, has come.

Delivering the red card to Kenya yesterday evening, Fifa boss Gianni Infantino said Kenya, together with Zimbabwe, have been suspended from international football due to government interference.

The Fifa boss made the statement at a press conference in Zurich.

The suspension came with a condition.

For Kenya be welcomed back to the Fifa family, the suspended Football Kenya Federation (FKF) needs to be reinstated and the caretaker committee suspended forthwith.

Tough times.

The suspension was coming though. It surely was. It was just a matter of time.

From November last year, the signs were there.

At that time, Fifa Chief Member Associations Officer Kenny Jean-Marie threatened to suspend Kenya from football-related activities after Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed suspended Football Kenya Federation and installed the caretaker committee and secretariat to oversee football matters for six months.

According to the Fifa Statutes (2018), each member association is responsible to Fifa for any acts of the members of their bodies.

"We had to suspend two of our member associations; Kenya and Zimbabwe both for government interference in their activities of football. Both associations are suspended from all football activities with immediate effect," said Infantino.

"They know what needs to be done for them to be re-admitted or for the suspension to be lifted."

This is not the first time Kenya is being suspended by Fifa.

In June 2004, Fifa suspended Kenya for three months due to government interference.

Other countries that have faced a similar suspension from Fifa include Chad, Sierra Leonne, Pakistan and Peru.

With the suspension, Kenya will not be represented in any regional, continental or international competitions.

Their dreams of qualifying for African Champions League remain just that, dreams.

Kenya is also not eligible to take part in any international friendly match.

With the Kenyan Premier League expected to resume today after a two-week break, all the matches, so long as the suspension is in effect, will amount to friendly matches.

The caretaker committee is chaired by Justice (retired) Aaron Ringera.

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