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Mwachiro spells out his vision for Kenyan football

Monday June 01 2020
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Herbert Mwachiro during the interview at Nation Centre on May 31, 2020. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By DAVID KWALIMWA

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) presidential aspirant Herbert Mwachiro has said his first task if elected head of the federation will be to work with government and the private sector to transform Kenya into a continental powerhouse.

In an inclusive interview with Nation Sport on Sunday, the 50-year-old who is gunning to unseat his former boss, FKF president Nick Mwendwa, asserts that he has a plan to ensure Kenyan teams consistently qualify and compete in international competitions such as the Africa Cup of Nations, not just once in 15 years as happened last year.

"We will likely retain both (Harambee Stars coach) Francis Kimanzi and Starlets coach David Ouma. They have done a good job. Our plan is to ensure that Kenya consistently plays at the Africa Cup of Nations as was the case in 1988, 1990 and 1992.

But how?

 "It is not a question of (whether we have) talent. At last year's Nations Cup (in Egypt), our players suffered stage freight probably because they were playing with Riyad Mahrez and Sadio Mane. That ended up affecting the team's performance. We plan to source for more funds to adequately prepare the team, have them play more friendly matches, and ensure players are motivated the most," Mwachiro said.

Mwachiro, a former radio journalist at Nation FM, says he has plans to extend the Kenya Premier League (KPL) Limited's term of office.

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The former TV pundit with pan-African sports broadcasters SuperSport and Kwese Sport, says he will work with KPL CEO Jack Oguda to find a broadcast partner for the Kenyan Premier League and Women Premier League.

This, he says, should be realised in his first year in office.

"We are a sporting country. Kenya has the best potential in terms of football talents in this region. Without a broadcast partner to expose these talents, they will waste away," says Mwachiro.

KPL's five-year mandate to manage the country's top-flight competition expires in September and Mwendwa has announced he will not renew it.

The league has not had a broadcast partner since SuperSport withdrew three years ago in the wake of a public fallout between Mwendwa and Oguda over the number of clubs in the league.

"The established football leagues in the world, including South Africa's, Germany and England are run by a company. I wish to see that continue here."

Mwachiro says there have been more challenges than successes in Mwendwa's first four-year term in office. "I disagreed with Mwendwa on principle and left. Nothing personal.

He (Mwendwa) has since fallen out with KPL and the government,” he said.

Mwachiro served as FKF's deputy Chief Executive under Mwendwa between November 2018 and May 2018. 

He also led the organizing committee when Kenya hosted the 2017 Council for East and Central Africa (Cecafa) Senior Challenge Cup in Kakamega, Kisumu, and Machakos and was the Chief Executive of Kenya's failed 2018 Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) organizing committee.

"I had nothing to do with Kenya losing out on the hosting rights for Chan 2018 to Morocco. It was out of my hands. It also had nothing to do with a lack of quality stadiums. We had the goodwill from Caf (the Confederation of African Football). The whole of Africa wanted to come to Meru, Machakos, Mombasa, Kakamega, and Kisumu."

"But the political temperatures were very high at the time. If we had had one election (in 2017), it would have been better, but we had two in a span of three months. The (tournament) sponsors did not want to take a risk (of bringing football to Kenya). We lost out on a great opportunity to market the country. My team will plan and put up a bid to host a continental women or youth championship."

Mwachiro also says he had nothing to do with FKF's botched bid to purchase an Outside Broadcast (OB Van) in 2017. Fifa forwarded Sh125 million to FKF to purchase the vehicle and studio at the time neither the money or van is available at the moment.

"I was not involved in the purchase. I am banking on FKF to hand over and we will use the documents to analyze the situation and bring things. That said, I will invest development monies from Fifa and Caf in the youth."

He also plans to talk to Harambee Stars former coaches Adel Amrouche, Bobby Williamson, and Sebastian Migne on a payment plan of how to settle the cumulative Sh180 million debt. The talks, he says, will involve the government.

Mwachiro will also seek to 'lessen' politics within football leadership by unveiling a professional format within the administration. 

"With the measures I put in place, it will be impossible for someone to steal money during my reign. Do not expect sportswriters to cover stories from the DCI (Directorate of Criminal Investigations) offices."

Importantly, Mwachiro says he has also formulated a plan to alight football development with the priorities of the country including the creation of employment, universal healthcare, and manufacturing.

FKF elections have been nullified by the Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT) on two separate occasions since December.

The new date for the polls is yet to be set and Mwachiro now joins Mwendwa, former Cecafa boss Nicholas Musonye, former KFF vice-chairman Twaha Mbarak, Gor Mahia Chief Executive Lordvick Aduda, plus London based businessman Steve Mburu as among those gunning for the top seat.

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