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FKF boss Mwendwa talks goals, highs and lows

Thursday January 23 2020

Football Kenya Federation president Nick Mwendwa address journalists at Safari Park hotel, Nairobi on December 7, 2019. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT |

Football Kenya Federation president Nick Mwendwa address journalists at Safari Park hotel, Nairobi on December 7, 2019. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

DAVID KWALIMWA
By DAVID KWALIMWA
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Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has complied with a directive from the Sports Disputes Tribunal to constitute a new Electoral Board before fresh polls are held in March, president Nick Mwendwa has said.

In an exclusive interview with Nation Sport, Mwendwa said that they have also completed public participation for the Electoral Code.

“We have conducted public participation for the Electoral Code. Several stakeholders, including 130 referees and 150 coaches participated. We will now present the election rules to the delegates during a Special General Meeting on January 28. Our main aim is to hold free and fair elections by the end of March,” he said.

Last month, the Sports Disputes Tribunal cancelled the FKF national elections that were scheduled for December 7, citing lack of public participation and improper composition of the Electoral Board. Tribunal chairman John Ohaga also nullified FKF branch elections that had already been held.

Mwendwa told Nation Sport that FKF’s National Executive Committee has appointed a new Electoral Board to oversee the repeat elections in March.

The board consists of communication expert Kentice Tikolo, sports management consultant at Fifa Patrick Onyango, sports commentator Ali Hassan Kauleni and former referee Alfred Ndinya. Others are Samuel Karanja, Rachel Muthoga, Elaine Mbugua and Andrew Mudibo.

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As per the FKF rules, the new eight-man board is required to be adopted during the federation’s January 28 Special General Meeting. The initial board chaired by Prof Edwin Wamukoya was disbanded. Tribunal chairman Ohaga had ruled that one of the members of FKF’s Electoral Board, Elynah Shiveka, wasn’t eligible to sit on it.

Mwendwa will be defending his seat during the election. Mwendwa’s possible challengers are his predecessor Sam Nyamweya, Nyamweya’s former deputy Robert Asembo, businessman Simon Mburu, former Nairobi Speaker Alex ole Magelo, former Vihiga Governor Moses Akaranga and former football star MacDonald Mariga.

Mwendwa said this year is an important phase for the development of the sport. He said that he is satisfied with sponsorship deals worth Sh500 million which FKF has unveiled in partnership with Safaricom, plus betting firms Betika, Betway and Odibet in the past two months.

The money will be used to fund grassroots football, the second-tier league and the domestic cup, Mwendwa said.

"The partnership is an indication of investor confidence in football. We are in talks with more partners and even the government to ensure all our activities run without a hitch," said Mwendwa.

FKF have been on the spot over the use of Sh244 million they received from government to help the national men’s football team Harambee Stars to prepare for last year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt and also money it got from world governing body Fifa.

"I have not been summoned by anyone. I find it contradictory when a few people say we are not using funds properly and yet corporates are still giving us millions. Our accounts have already been audited by the auditor general and I can assure you our financial record is clean,” he said.

Mwendwa, 41, was recently involved in a public spat with former Sports Principal Secretary Kirimi Kaberia over poor funding of national teams. Last week, President Uhuru Kenyatta transferred Kaberia to the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining in a Cabinet reshuffle. He was replaced by Joe Okudo.

"I have no personal differences with Kaberia and I wish him well in his new posting. We welcome Okudo and I’m confident of a healthy working relationship with him,” he said.

KPL'S STRUGGLES

Mwendwa said he is ready to help the struggling Kenyan Premier League find financial stability.

The country's top-flight football league is in dire straits after SportPesa ended an estimated Sh70 million a year sponsorship deal in August.

Since then, KPL has struggled to pay referees and employees and also cater for basic needs such as rent. Clubs too, are broke with a number of them failing to honour matches while players have on average gone for four months without pay.

"There is a company mandated to run the KPL and that includes securing funding. But we can step in and help. I’m certain we will have a new sponsor in place by the start of next season."

After training hundreds of coaches and instructors last year, FKF will be hoping to register better results on the pitch this year.

Among the future assignments include Harambee Stars’ goal to qualify for the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) back-to-back for the first time since 1992. The team has games against Comoros, Togo and Egypt lined up in the qualification phase.

Stars are also looking to qualify for the Fifa World Cup for the first time in the country's history with the draw for the qualification matches out already. Kenya are in group E alongside Mali and Cecafa rivals Uganda and Rwanda.

Meanwhile, high-flying Harambee Starlets are seeking to qualify for the women Africa Cup Nations. Starlets have been in a rich vein of form in the region and continent over the last year. These impressive performances have led to four players Mwanahalima Adam, Annedy Kundu, Corazon Aquino and Ruth Ingosi landing professional deals with European clubs.

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