AFC Leopards defender Washington Munene (left) and Benson Omalla of Gor Mahia in action during their FKF Premier League match at Nyayo Stadium on May 14. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

For the umpteenth time, there will be no prize money for the 2022/23 FKF Premier League champions.

That literally means, the winners, who will come from the trio of Tusker, Gor Mahia and Nzoia Sugar will just be applauded by the organisers and their fans.

The once vibrant league in the continent has been in a red alert for a couple of seasons, but the last two campaigns seems to be worse.

In 2021/22 season, Tusker were crowned champions, but they only pocketed a paltry Sh2 million in prize money from the FKF Caretaker Committee who had been installed by former Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed to manage football affairs in the country after the disbandment of FKF for alleged misappropriation of funds.

But the brewers were not able to represent the country in the CAF Champions League the following season due to the suspension imposed on Kenya by world football governing body, Fifa.

The previous season, Tusker lifted the trophy and walked home with Sh4 million in prize money.

In the 2019/20 season, Gor Mahia were declared the champions after the season ended prematurely due to the coronavirus crisis. K’Ogalo won the title by virtue of leading the table with 54 points from 23 matches by the time the league was abruptly halted owing to the pandemic.

However, interestingly, the record league champions never received a trophy or the Sh4 million title winning prize money.

It was a repeat of the 2018/19 season when the organisers failed to pay Gor Mahia the prize money.

Fast forward, after the reinstatement of the Nick Mwendwa-led federation, the FKF boss was in pain yesterday as he revealed that there will be no monetary reward for both FKF winners and recently crowned Kenya Women Premier League champions Vihiga Queens due to the financial crisis.

But he was quick to promise a bigger and lucrative 2023/24 season that will start in August 2023 and end in May 2024.

“There’s no money and we won’t reward the league champions this season. We will not have any prize giving, where is the money going to come from? This was just a rescue season.  We might want to try and even have a gala, but we don’t have the statistics and a committee in place that should have been following players’ performance,” Mwendwa told Standard Sports.

“But we are packaging something big for the new campaign and these clubs will smile throughout the season. I can’t give the details right now. Our season will officially run between August and May with broadcasting and sponsorship deals as well as club licensing. I’m not worried and I actually think this was a blessing in disguise because we all know now what we need to do.”

He continued: “We found ourselves in this situation because when there is no leadership and everything is in shambles there is nobody who wants to be part of it. There was nobody to speak to the sponsors when we were forcefully removed from the office. We had a seven-year broadcasting deal with StarTimes worth 1.4 million dollars a year. We used to give clubs between Sh300,000-Sh400,000 per month. Do you know how such a mount of money comes in handy for these clubs? But that was cut off the day I was arrested. Two days later StarTimes walked away. “

Asked if Tanzanian pay TV station Azam TV could be making its way into the Kenyan sports market after they broadcasted the Mashemeji derby two weeks ago, Mwendwa simply said: “There’s no deal yet with Azam, but they are interested in broadcasting our league.”

Mwendwa was categorical that the FKF Cup runners up will represent the country in next season’s CAF Confederation Cup in case Tusker win a double.

Tusker, who are currently leading the FKF PL standings, are set to play against Kakamega Homeboyz in the FKF Cup final on July 1.

“Gone are the days when the league runners up represented the country in Confederation Cup at the expense of FKF Cup finalists,” said Mwendwa.

“In case Tusker wins the league FKF Cup, they will not represent the country in two competitions. So, in such a scenario, it is Homeboyz who will play in the Confederation Cup.”

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