Football Kenya Federation Transition Committee has suffered a major blow after Kenyan Premier League clubs unanimously agreed yesterday that they will only participate in a Fifa sanctioned league.
This comes barely three days after the Transition Committee postponed the 2022/2023 season kick for the third time from this Saturday to October 1.
The league had initially been slated to start on August 27 before it was pushed back to September 10. The committee then rescheduled it to September 24 citing the ongoing Kenya Communication Sports Organisation (KECOSO) games in Kericho County.
“Please note that due to the upcoming KECOSO games in which several FKF Premier League clubs are scheduled to participate in, the start of the 2022-23 season has been postponed to Saturday, October 1, 2022,” read a communication from FKF secretariat boss Lindah Oguttu to clubs.
But from the resolutions passed in yesterday’s KPL Caucus meeting held at Park Inn Hotel in Westlands, Nairobi, the confusion in Kenyan football is likely to take longer.
With clubs and national teams (Harambee Stars and Harambee Starlets) already feeling the effects of Fifa suspension after they were locked out of international competitions, the Premier League teams resolved not to take in any unsanctioned league.
Tusker is one of the casualties as they have been barred from competing in the CAF Champions League despite winning the domestic league last season.
FKF Premier League remains unrecognised after the world football governing body suspended Kenya from all international football activities on February 24, citing government interference.
The meeting which was chaired by Gor Mahia CEO Raymond Oruo, with 16 representatives from the Premier League clubs in attendance and two absent with apology, had been called to discuss the current status of Kenyan football and the stand of the 18 topflight clubs as they anticipate the normal running of football in the country in line with the directives issued by Fifa.
“From this meeting and after consultations, we have unanimously resolved as Kenyan Premier League clubs that we will not take part in any competition that is not recognised and sanctioned by Fifa. This is because it is really a waste of investment and time and with very little return coming through,” said Oruo.
“It has been noted that our teams and by extension our players, technical bench and officials have greatly suffered with the Fifa suspension that the country has experienced since February 2022.
“The teams have greatly invested over the last season but with very little return. We started the 2021/2022 season with FKF then came in the Transition Committee, we continued with the league and then the season ended with Tusker as champions. We expected Tusker to play in the CAF Champions League but that didn’t happen.”
AFC Leopards’ Victor Bwibo, Mathare United’s Jecton Obure, Patrick Korir (Nairobi City Stars), Chris Oguso (Kenya Police), Jimmy Ambajo (Sofapaka), Lynda Ambiyo (Kariobangi Sharks) and Geoffrey Misango (Bidco United) are some of the CEOs who graced the meeting.
Tusker, Wazito and Vihiga Bullets were represented by Sam Nzau, Collins Dave and Collins Juma respectively.
Bandari and Ulinzi Stars were absent with apologies, while Talanta and Posta Rangers whose officials are currently in Kericho for KECOSO games, Kakamega Homeboyz and KCB were all represented by proxies.
According to the KPL Caucus secretary Patrick Korir, the value of the Kenyan league has depreciated. He warned that if drastic measures are not taken, clubs will start folding.
“A lot of teams have lost sponsorship because of the confusion that is going on and a number of them have changed their transfer policies by going for much younger and cheaper players. This is because they no longer have guarantees of finances to afford the experienced players,” said Korir.
“There is no value in the league at all because the small things that used to add value in it like monthly player awards no longer exist. So, it’s affecting clubs in a very big way.”
He continued: “A lot of things were done wrongly last season and clubs have now come to realize that what’s going on is affecting all of us. We are in a quagmire, and if this goes on unchecked, you will see a lot of clubs folding. Already we have seen one club has moved away from Nairobi, and they are lucky someone has purchased it; that club was on its deathbed because of what’s going on.
“As clubs, we are saying, we don’t want one more club to die, we want to play not just in a league, but a proper league. Tusker won the league, but why is it that they cannot go and play in the continental competition. Yes, they are champions here, but on the other hand they are not champions because champions play continentally.”