Only sober discussions by stakeholders will save Kenyan football

Monday March 30 2020

Kenyan football is at a crossroads ahead of April 6 talks between the Ministry of Sports, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) and world football governing body Fifa.

Depending on the outcome of these talks, Fifa could ban Kenya from all football activities.

Here's some background. FKF has on two separate occasions organised county and national elections but both exercises were nullified by the Sports Dispute Tribunal (SDT).

These rulings by SDT were supported by Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed, but have irked Fifa.

Should the Sports Cabinet Secretary maintain her stance, Fifa will consider the same as interference by the third party, and this is likely to result in a ban in line with Article 13, Paragraph One. of Fifa Statutes which oblige member associations to manage their affairs independently and with no influence from third parties.

A Fifa ban has far-reaching consequences on the local football scene.

For instance, no Kenyan team will be allowed to compete in any international competitions, including at club level, during the period of suspension in accordance with article 14 Paragraph Three of Fifa Statutes.

A Fifa ban would put an end to the hopes of a number of Kenyan players who have recently joined the professional ranks in Europe such as Annette Kundu, Ruth Ingosi (Lakatamia, Cyprus), Corazon Aquino (Atletico Ouriense), and Essie Akida (Besikitas, Turkey).

The players will not don national team colours for the foreseeable future. The other impact of a Fifa ban would be the withdrawal of support from sponsors.

Over the past year, the FKF House has been able to secure some deals which have made funds available to various levels of Kenyan football.

Seeing the sponsors take away their investment due to the chaos and instability occasioned by a Fifa ban would be a major setback as it would impact the entire financial infrastructure on which Kenyan football is built.

In addition, neither the FKF nor any of its members or officials may benefit from any Fifa or Caf development programmes, courses, training or appointment of match officials in continental and international assignments during the suspension period.

Last year, Kenya managed to qualify for the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) for the first time in 15 years when there was relative calm which brought about stability in Kenyan football.

This was during Nick Mwendwa’s first term in office. Harambee Starlets made history, qualifying for their maiden Africa Women’s Cup of Nations tournament in 2016.

The team went on to dethrone Cecafa Women’s Challenge Cup holder’s Kilimanjaro Queens of Tanzania at the Chamazi Stadium, Dar es Salaam last year in what was the team’s first ever regional title.

With these notes in hindsight, it would be important for stakeholders to engage in a sober discussion to arrive at the way forward for Kenyan football.

The writer is Media and Communications Officer at Football Kenya Federation. [email protected]