One step forward, two steps backwards. That is the motto for football management in Kenya. The mire of the composition of teams in the Kenya Premier League goes on and on to the detriment of our football, and none of the combatants seems ready to even blink!
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) insists with authority that the Kenya Premier league must have 18 teams, while the Kenya Premier League Limited (KPL) that runs the league, argues that the 16-team league format is the most logical and more competitive.
Both sides have advanced their arguments over the matter, but we must note that FKF simply replies with the fact that it is the sole body mandated to run football in Kenya and that it is the only body recognised by Fifa.
KPL on the other hand advances lots of arguments as to why the 16-team league is the best. They quote some facts, like what is happening in the rest of Africa and blah blah! Zambia now has a 20-team league and somehow it is still competitive!
These two bodies have been to court now and again. The High court ruled recently that the league should revert to 16-team format. The ruling agreed with the directive of the Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT) early this year before the start of the league which asserted that the 16-team league was good enough.
FKF didn’t heed SDT’s advice and went ahead to promote Nakumatt and Zoo Kericho! The ruling meant that Nakumatt FC and Zoo Kericho FC were to be pushed out of the premier league.
The ruling came just when there were a few matches to play before end of the season. The logistics that this ruling was to bring would have been nightmarish and very unfair to the two teams that were used as pawns by FKF to push through their agenda of an 18-team league!
One of the reasons why we lost the lucrative broadcasting contract with SuperSport was the expansion of the league without consultation. FKF has done it all and now there are many teams that shall feel financial heat the coming season when we lose even more promoters.
Well, FKF has run to the Court of Appeal and now the two unhappy teams have been given a temporary reprieve to stay in the league with less than three matches left in the season. It’s very unfair.
To make matters worse, the two bodies are yet to agree about the criteria of promoting teams from the lower-tier league to the KPL!
The rules of the game stipulate that such criteria be decided upon and communicated prior to the start of the league. That shall not be done of course and as such we should expect the same shenanigans early next year!
These are just a few of the sticking points that bedevil our football. There are too many egos to be massaged and ours is to only pray that the almighty takes them all to heaven so that we can get better!