The Sh140m question: Will FKF pay ex-coaches?

Tuesday March 8 2016

Harambee Stars coach Bobby Williamson barks instructions from the touchline during their World Cup qualifier against Cape Verde on November 13, 2015 at the Nyayo National Stadium. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

Harambee Stars coach Bobby Williamson barks instructions from the touchline during their World Cup qualifier against Cape Verde on November 13, 2015 at the Nyayo National Stadium. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By DAVID KWALIMWA
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Football Kenya Federation could soon be compelled to fork out close to Sh140 million as compensation to two of its former employees, Daily Nation Sport can reveal.

This follows the decision by the national body to unprocedurally do away with the services of former Harambee Stars coaches, Adel Amrouche and Bobby Williamson.

Last month, FKF president Nick Mwendwa revealed that Williamson, who managed Stars for 18 months, was owed close to Sh30 million in salary arrears.

Harambee Stars coach Bobby Williamson during a past training session. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Harambee Stars coach Bobby Williamson during a past training session. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

These arrears were accrued by the former office led by Sam Nyamweya, which handed the Briton a Sh2.5 million monthly salary to coach the team.

The Mwendwa administration asked Williamson to step aside soon after taking office.

Stanley Okumbi, Musa Otieno and Frank Ouna have since been handed the coaching role, at reported combined salary cost estimated to be half of Williamson’s pay.

Harambee Stars assistant coach Musa Otieno gives instructions to players during a past training session at Kasarani. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Harambee Stars assistant coach Musa Otieno gives instructions to players during a past training session at Kasarani. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

However, Williamson technically remains in charge of the national team because his contract has not been “formally terminated”.

“The outgoing president (Nyamweya) has assured me there is a guarantee from the government to pay Williamson,” Mwendwa told journalists when he introduced Okumbi’s team.

Indeed, last September, the Government paid Williamson Sh15 million of what he was owed by FKF.

Principal Secretary Richard Ekai said at the time the Ministry was footing this relatively hefty bill on the basis of a presidential directive dating back December 2013.

Should FKF terminate Williamson’s services “formally”, sources say he will ask for additional monies in damages and breach of of contract.

Mwendwa told Nation Sport on Tuesday:: “We are engaging the government and Bobby Williamson with a view to settling this matter. But then, if he can get employment elsewhere, the better for all parties.”

Exit Williamson, enter Amrouche.

The Algerian-born Belgian’s handlers recently wrote to Mwendwa a detailed email in which the former was reminded of an incurred debt in form of salary arrears totalling Sh50 million.

Harambee Stars coach Adel Amrouche gives instructions to players from the touch-line during their GOtv Cecafa Senior Challenge Group A match East against South Sudan on November 30, 2013 at Nyayo Stadium. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Harambee Stars coach Adel Amrouche gives instructions to players from the touch-line during their GOtv Cecafa Senior Challenge Group A match East against South Sudan on November 30, 2013 at Nyayo Stadium. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mwendwa was also warned that if Amrouche was to head for Fifa, FKF would be forced to pay the whole of his five-year deal worth Sh107 million.

The email in our possession reads in part: “It should be noted that if he (Amrouche) was to proceed (read sue FKF) and succeed at the Fifa Dispute Resolution Chamber, then he would have to be paid his full arrears and salary until January 31, 2019 (e.g Sh107.5 million), plus interest on the unpaid arrears for the last two years, plus significant compensation for unfair dismissal. (Please note) In a recent and similar case, Fifa suspended Zimbabwe until they paid their former Coach in full.”

DISMISSED AFTER LOSS

Just like Williamson, Amrouche was fired by Nyamweya after Kenya lost to lowly Lesotho in the qualifying campaign for the 2015 Africa Nations Cup. He would later be suspended by the Confederation of African Football for misconduct although this suspension has since been lifted.

It is Amrouche whom President Uhuru Kenyatta and Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario committed to paying his salary in December 2013, moments after the former Burundi and DRC's Motema Pembe coach had steered Harambee Stars to victory at the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup in Nairobi on the day the country was celebrating its 50th birthday.

The late Reinhardt Fabisch, alongside Frenchmen Henri Michel and Bernard Lama are other former Stars coaches who have been in dispute with the federation over pay.