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In Kenya, a FIFA Ban Is Worth the Sacrifice

In Kenya, a FIFA Ban Is Worth the Sacrifice

Robson Sharuko — Senior Sports Editor

WHEN blogger Joseph Mboya became the latest influential voice to call for the dissolution of the Kenyan Football, yesterday, his passionate appeal was targeted at the country’s Sports Minister, Amina Mohamed.

His article was published in The Daily Nation, the most influential newspaper in Kenya, with a daily circulation of about 180 000 copies.

It is also the largest newspaper in East Africa.

Mboya’s message simply amplified what other pundits have been calling for in Kenya in recent weeks as the country goes through a painful soul-searching exercise.

Many of the analysts are in agreement the time has come for a radical intervention, including the dissolution of the KFK, even if it means they will be banned from international football, by FIFA.

“This is an urgent appeal to Sports Cabinet Secretary, Amina Mohamed, please disband Football Kenya Federation right now,” thundered Mboya on his blog.

“I am sure I am speaking on behalf of millions of football lovers in the country, who have realised that FKF president Nick Mwendwa, is all hat and no cattle.

“The man seems determined on one course — to drag us all to hell in a handbasket.

“I believe one of the cardinal tasks for Mwendwa, as the FKF head, is to hunt for and nurture talent as well as giving the young players a chance to exercise their talents to the full.

“But, what did the man say after our national team Harambee Stars got a humiliation from Mali?

“Even if you bring Mourinho (Jose), even if you bring Arteta (Mikel), the work that has to be done is that we need to bring talent to the table. For you to win, you need quality players.”

While Mboya’s message is for the Kenyan people, he could also have been speaking to the Zimbabweans and his concerns would have appealed to football fans across this country.

There are similarities between the challenges, which the Kenyan and Zimbabwean football fans are facing, at this juncture.

They both find themselves battling for answers, after the Harambee Stars and the Warriors, crashed out of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, with still two rounds of matches to be played.

There is also general disillusionment, within the two countries, at the direction, which their football is taking, right now.

While the Kenyans are daring FIFA, ready for the sanctions which might come in the wake of the dissolution of the FKF, there is concern in this country, it might not be the best way to resolve the crisis, facing the national game.

The wounds inflicted by the Sports Commission’s intervention in domestic cricket, which led to the country being thrown out of major international competitions, are still yet to heal.

But, for those who believe there is no better way to confront the crisis than endure the sanctions from FIFA, for the sake of the future, will certainly be cheered by the realisation they are not walking alone.

In Kenya, they have a number of influential people, like Mboya, who are already treading on that path.

“Maybe, critical thinking is an alien concept to Mwendwa and his clique at Kandanda House but if he had it, he could have realised that such kind of reckless talk ends up harming players’ self-confidence, not forgetting the corporates who would have loved to partner with local clubs,” Mboya wrote.

“Mwendwa also has this diabolical hatred for the two biggest clubs in the country, Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards.

“The latest, in these juvenile machinations against Gor Mahia, was the return tie “K’Ogalo” (Gor Mahia) were supposed to play against Al Ahly Merowe of Sudan.

“On the eve of the tie, the government issued a decree that the country’s stadia be opened up to fans to go back and cheer their teams.

“Only for Mwendwa through his chief executive, Barry Otieno, to come up with a nonsense on stilts in the form of a press release questioning this move.

“In that nonsense, the good man threw in the name of FIFA, obviously, aimed at trying to intimidate the government.

“It has been claimed in some quarters that the reason the FKF leadership do not want the fans back to the stadia is because they fear facing them.

“Fans are long fed up with the goings-on at Kandanda House, my question to FKF is, for how long? It is no secret that a time will come when fans will be back and it will be a case of you can run but you can’t hide.”

Mboya feels the FKF leaders abuse FIFA for their protection.

“This was the second time in as many weeks that FKF were throwing the FIFA card at us,” he wrote. “When the CS (Cabinet Secretary) announced plans to send auditors, to have a look at FKF books, the federation wrote another rambling epistle where FIFA were mentioned.

“This is where we draw the line.

“FIFA rules cannot be above those of our national government and any organisation operating in Kenya is subject to the laws of the land.

“This includes FKF, which Mwendwa believes, is his personal property.

“This the time for Madam Minister to send the kit and caboodle at FKF packing, set the time for fresh elections and have a new team to run our football.

“I know FIFA will come at us full swing with a ban to boot. So what? I strongly believe that being banned for two years is a small price to pay if we want to see a brighter future for our football.

“While at it, the CS should also ban Mwendwa from stepping one kilometre from any stadium, or any place, where there is a football event.”

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