Kenya Power Company finds itself in a rare controversy with a community club over the ownership of a football team in Mombasa.
According to documents seen by the Nation, Kenya Power signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to have their team Coast Stima merged with Coast United FC in 2014.
During the time and before the two teams entered into a merger, Coast United was participating in the National Division One League while Coast Stima was playing in the lower Coast Provincial League.
According to the MOU, Kenya Power was to provide financial sponsorship and take charge of the management aspect while Coast United would be responsible for the technical bench.
Among the original officials of the merged team were Robert Mahaga (Patron), KPLC Regional Manager Hezekiah Mwalwala (Chairman), Ali Hassan (Vice Chairman), Christopher Ayieko (Treasurer), David Kambe (Secretary) and Yahya Hassan (Technical Director).
The four-year merger started showing cracks last year when Yahya Hassan was dismissed as the club's Technical Director and thereafter Kenya Power terminated the MOU altogether through a letter addressed to current Coast United chairman Ali Hassan dated July 19, 2019.
“The management of Coast Stima FC after serious consideration and further to our joint consultative meeting held on June 25, 2019 in reference to Clause 2 & 3 of the MOU dated June 26, 2014 and signed on July 1, 2014 wish to bring to your notice the termination of MOU,” read part of the letter signed by the current Coast Stima FC Secretary Lawrence Sakwa.
This has elicited sharp reaction from officials of Coast United FC who accused Kenya Power of terminating the MOU without following the laid down procedures.
“We will not allow a corporate organisation to use its financial muscles to grab our team which we built from the scratches and dedicated huge resources,” said Coast United vice chairman Ismail Mohamed during a press conference on Tuesday at Tudor Sports Club in Mombasa.
A visibly angry Mohamed vowed to use all sporting and legal channels to reclaim their team saying the action taken by Kenya Power negates efforts to promote football in the country.
Mohamed, who was flanked by Ali Hassan (Chairman) and Khamis Baghazal (Technical advisor), said they feel duped by Kenya Power and revealed that they have written to the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) national office to that effect.
FKF Acting Chief Executive Office Barry Otieno confirmed receipt of the complaint and said the matter will soon be heard by the Arbitration Committee.
“We acknowledge that a case between your club and Coast Stima FC has been brought to our attention and we have initiated the process of constituting an arbitration committee to arbitrate on this sensitive matter,” read part of a letter dated August 7, 2019 and signed by Otieno.
During the press conference, Coast United officials challenged Coast Stima to provide evidence including fixtures to show how they climbed the ladder from Provincial League to National Division One League.
“We want our team back and we have already secured a sponsor. Coast Stima can go ahead and form their team and start playing from lower divisions,” added Mohamed.
They threatened to take legal action and also demanded for the exclusion of Coast Stima from the National Super League fixtures of the upcoming season until the matter is heard and determined.
However, Coast Stima chairman David Opiyo has dismissed the allegations saying MOU was terminated within the stipulated conditions.
“It’s true we had an MOU with Coast United but we have terminated it because of several reasons including unrealistic demands towards running of Coast Stima FC,” he said.
In his letter, the FKF acting CEO Otieno called for patience as the national football body rolls out the arbitration process.