Sports ministry and FKF, help players as promised

Wednesday May 13 2020

For the past two weeks, Mombasa Old Town has been in the news for all wrong reasons. And there has been a blanket judgment in the unfolding events, but law-abiding people are taking the flak for a few individuals’ ill-advised decisions.

It all started with the food distribution to cushion people from the economic strain brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. Social media was awash with a video of a disgruntled woman complaining that she only received pojo (green grams) and poor quality local rice. She accused the governor of donating “useless” aid. She appeared to have a sense of entitlement to “better food”, and was ungrateful for what was given to her. Her thanklessness was almost irreligious and annoying to any well mannered person…she was uncouth!

It is from that incident that we learn about the beauty of appreciation. But that is not what we will be focusing on in this column.

For several weeks, we have dedicated this column to seeking help for footballers who are languishing in misery because of the virus. The Ministry of Sports and Football Kenya Federation (FKF) had assured Kenyans that the players would receive help. They even asked each club to send the names of 25 players and five officials who are in dire need to FKF.

The clubs forwarded the names as requested. A few days ago, FKF in partnership with betting firm Betika unveiled a Sh5.3 million package for the Kenyan Premier League and National Super League players. At hand to receive the token was Gor Mahia captain Kenneth Muguna and his Nairobi City Stars counterpart Anthony Kimani on behalf of the 36 clubs.

Each player was, therefore, to be given Sh5,000. The players did not react like the woman in the Mombasa video. Muguna said, ”Thank you Betika and FKF for this kind gesture towards us.”

Kimani said, “We feel appreciated. Never before has football been suspended to this extent and this token, though not enough, will go a long way in cushioning us against the economic effects of the global pandemic.”

The cash wasn’t enough, but the players appreciated it all the same. That is the spirit. To Betika, we say thank you. It is a show of goodwill that we will remember, and hope other corporate bodies emulate.

That was money from Betika and not the FKF or the government. We are still waiting for the federation and the government to do something for the players.

Help is taking way too long to come, and knowing how this country operates, the cash may not come any time soon. It may even come after the Covid-19 thing is over! If Betika gave Sh5.3 million, then we expect the government to do even more, say in the range of at least Sh30 million.

Players don’t need to go the Mombasa woman’s way. They are doing the decent thing by waiting patiently, but it is wearing thin. We are still waiting. It was a promise.

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