Ex-KFF official calls for diplomatic end to FKF polls stalemate

Monday March 30 2020
By DAVID KWALIMWA

Former Kenya Football Federation (KFF) vice-chairman Jacob Kabanze has implored on the government to engage Fifa in a bid to find a solution on the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) election stalemate.

Also joining this debate are a group of former Harambee Stars players, who have also expressed concerns that a prolonged stalemate between Fifa and government, could affect the careers of active footballers.

This past week, Fifa dismissed a ruling by the Sports Dispute Tribunal (SDT) cancelling FKF polls for the second time since December.

SDT chairman John Ohaga had also requested Fifa to form a normalisation committee to run football in the country in the interim and organise fresh polls, but Fifa could hear none of that.

But then, Sports Cabinet Secretary, Amina Mohamed, has responded by exclusively telling Nation Sport she expects football's world governing body to respect Kenya's judicial systems.

Mohamed, Fifa representatives, FKF officials and other stakeholders are expected to hold talks "for the sake of peace" on or before April 6, and Kabanze, who was voted into office in an exercise conducted by a normalisation committee in 2004, adds that the forthcoming talks are crucial to the future of Kenyan football.

"From Fifa's letter, it appears Fifa will lead the talks. In 2004, Fifa formed a normalisation committee which was chaired by athletics legend Kipchoge Keino, veteran journalist Omolle Asiko plus football administrators Albert Oketch and Bob Munro," Kabanze recalls.

(Then Minister for Sport) Maina Kamanda had formed another committee, but the group were not recognised by Fifa. At some point, the government attempted to deregister KFF and Fifa responded by allowing us to register a limited company namely Football Kenya Limited (FKL) so that nobody will interfere with football operations."

"It is Kenya that applied to be a member of Fifa and among the terms of admission is to respect and follow Fifa rules."

In a related development, former Harambee Stars captain Musa Otieno has also called for a diplomatic end to the stalemate.

"I always advocate for the players so if we are banned, it is the players who will suffer. It appears that some people are only looking after their own interests," said Otieno, who's also served as Stars assistant coach.

Otieno's thoughts were echoed by former Stars and Gor Mahia keeper Jerim Onyango, who now coaches the national U-17 team.

"Most of the players I work with have chosen football as a career. If we are banned, they will have nowhere else to go and to do. It is football that will suffer in general," he said.