For decades now , sporting activities in the country have been suffering from government influence and interference from operating independently. To narrow down on football specifically, this has been the order of the day. The Federation of kenyan FKF has suffered a great deal and its officials harrased. In 2021 for instance, the Sports cabinet secretary chose a caretaker committee to take charge of Kenyan football even though FKF was still operational despite the federation’s head Nick Mwendwa facing allegations of corruption,embezzlement of funds and poor leadership,this as a result hugely impacted Kenyan football negatively.
Having a stiff-necked government in office harassing the federation of Kenyan football (FKF) and tossing it to and fro, kicking it here has caused a great havoc on Kenyan soccer hence causing the 18 football teams competing for the Kenya Premier League to refuse to participate in the league until FIFA accredits it to carry on. Government interference with sporting activities especially football is the biggest menace causing devastation of kenyan soccer day-in day-out hence it should be dealt with immediate effect before it completely demolishes Kenyan football as well as absolutely ruining kenyan talents.
The stumbling block of FIFA outlawing Kenya from participating in any football competitions dates back to 2004 when they were prohibited from participating in any competitive matches due to government interference in the operation of national football federations. The same drawback occurred recently when FIFA prohibited the country for the same reason-government interference. Zimbabwe and Pakistan are the other countries that were suspended during the meeting chaired by FIFA president Gianni Infantino.Consequentially, Kenyan local leagues will suffer a great deal as well as the country’s footballers who will have to swallow the devastating pain and agony of the outcomes preceding the FIFA decision. Some of the consequences expected include:
The national team players will be denied a chance of playing any international matches hence their matches will be erased and wiped off from the international football calendar, including Harambee Starlets risking missing their 2022 Africa Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) qualifiers against Uganda, Eritrea and Djibouti if the ban will not be lifted. Kenya will lack representation in regional and international conventions and no Kenyan will be eligible to contest for any post in FIFA bodies internationally.
Players as a result will be denied opportunities to play for their clubs as well as national teams abroad because the ban restricts the international transfer of players as they need an International Transfer Certificate (ITC) to move from one football association to another.This certificate is useless if FIFA does not recognise the federation because they regulate the process.
Kenyan soccer teams will not be allowed to play any international matches for instance, Tusker FC and Gor Mahia will not play their scheduled Confederation of African Football (CAF) fixtures against CS Sfaxien and Otoho d’Oyo respectively and The FIFA sanction will prevent Kenyan referees from officiating in international fixtures and participating in seminars organised by the body.
FKF will miss FIFA grants meant to support local leagues in the nation. Football clubs will lose potential revenue accrued from participating in international fixtures. An example is that Kenyan clubs could miss out on the Ksh 56 million awarded to teams which qualify for the group stages of the CAF Champions League. Kenya’s position on FIFA status will fall and its reputation ruined in general.
The effects of FIFA banning Kenyan local leagues has negatively impacted Kenyan local leagues as well as barring Kenyan football talents from achieving their goals. Kenyan clubs will miss FIFA grants, players won’t be allowed to participate in international matches among other drawbacks.
There is therefore an urge to cover this menace so that the government and the federation of Kenyan football reflect on their misses with FIFA, consider the pros and cons with regard to the current situation and embark on formulation of ideas and implementation of policies to take kenyan football to the next level.
With new sports CS Ababu Namwamba in office ,much is expected with regard to the fact that he promised to engage FIFA so as to make sure the ban is lifted as soon as possible.
By Brian Simiyu