AFC Leopards forward Marvin Omondi has expressed his relief after the government Tuesday offered players and officials from 12 Kenyan Premier League (KPL) clubs a Sh30,000 package to cushion them from the effects of coronavirus pandemic.
Sports CS Amina Mohamed also confirmed that the most vulnerable players from the Women Premier League (WPL) will also benefit from the programme.
Coronavirus pandemic has paralysed all football activities in the country since March 14, resulting in a lack of income. On Tuesday, the Ministry of Sports released Sh20 million to help sustain the players, most of whom are aged below 30.
Omondi has not earned a salary in the past six months, since Leopards lost a multi-million shilling sponsorship deal with betting firm SportPesa. The situation took a turn for the worse two months ago when football activities were halted, meaning the 20-year-old could not even earn Sh300 in daily training allowance, or Sh5000 in match-winning bonus.
"I have so many debts. I will try and repay some of them and to buy some food to sustain me because we are not sure when we will resume playing football," the Kakamega High School alumnus told Nation Sport on Tuesday.
"I heard the Minister (Amina Mohamed) say on radio that she was trying to get something to sustain us and I didn't think it will happen this fast. I am grateful for her efforts. For once we feel wanted."
Kakamega Homeboyz forward Allan Wanga is also happy with the initiative.
"I will speak for my teammates and friends. They have really suffered and it was depressing. This amount, although not enough, will help. It will offer them hope."
Amina said the Sh20 million is part of the Sh50 million stimulus package set aside from the Sports Fund for sportsmen and women.
"We are going to release Sh10,000 a month for 30 players and five technical officers for 12 most vulnerable KPL clubs. This will be a total of 420 beneficiaries. The stimulus package will be for the next two months, with the possibility of an extension to a third month should we be able to mobilise more funds from well wishers and our partners," Amina said.
"The verification is to ensure their telephone numbers and identity card numbers are complete as well to ensure that we are targeting the most vulnerable including those that do not have other sources of income," she added.
Players attached to Bandari, Posta Rangers, Tusker, Ulinzi, Wazito and KCB are not covered in the programme.
"This is a welcome move, but it is not enough and we call on other stakeholders to come in and continue to assist. Our players are so young and there is always a risk they could be distracted to do other things without a source of income," said Kenyan Premier League Chief Executive Jack Oguda.
The development comes barely a month since Football Kenya Federation in partnership with betting firm Betika awarded each KPL and National Super League player Sh5,000 for the same purpose.