By Eliud Owalo
Recent events in Kenyan football lay full credence to the fact that Football Kenya Federation President Sam Nyamweya and his team have outlived their usefulness at the helm of Kenyan football. To begin with, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has been operating outside the Law by failing to comply with the Sports Act 2013, specifically section 48 of that Act that requires that it re-aligns its constitution and regulations to the Sports Act before seeking re-registration.
The Kenyan Football governing body has failed to apply for registration as required by the existing law despite being granted an extension window mid this year. Amazingly therefore, FKF is not registered with the Sports Registrar and has consequently been operating illegally.
At the very beginning of their current term, the FKF top leadership ensured that those officials who were interested in cleaning the game such as Sammy Shollei and Dan Shikanda were hounded out of office through suspension. They were suspended for opening a court case in contravention of FIFA statutes yet the same FKF top leadership has recently subsequently flouted this same statute with impunity by taking KPL to court.
Overwhelmingly, there has been gross mismanagement of funds meant for the development of Kenyan footbal.FIFA gives FKF approximately $250,000 (KES 23 million) each year yet as a public institution the FKF has never seen it prudent to publish financial statements like it happens in other parts of the world.
The World football governing body has in the recent past remitted funds to FKF for payment of referees yet referees remain unpaid to date. Instead, there has been claims of irregular massive withdrawal of the FIFA disbursements by top FKF officials.
Embezzlement of proceeds earned from sponsors and from broadcasting rights that are earned by the Kenya Premier League has been another cause of great concern. For instance, a recent deal for marketing rights that FKF entered into with Sports Marketing Agency MP & Silva of Monaco where local premier league clubs have accused the federation of forging the signatures of their Chairmen and using it to get Ksh. 83 million from the Agency meant for the Kenya Premier League on behalf of the Clubs. Minutes of a non-existent meeting of the KPL in Kakamega on January 30th 2015 was fraudulently used to hoodwink MP & Silva into releasing the money which was subsequently withdrawn by a senior FKF official for personal use. Astonishingly,these criminal acts happened while FKF already had an existing similar deal with Supersport of South Africa.
FKF has alienated potential sponsors like Safaricom, with allegations that FKF top leadership have demanded kickbacks of up to 20% of cumulative sponsorship funds.
To make matters worse, youth development structures are virtually dead with major corporate sponsors like CocaCola having withdrawn over allegations of graft. The same reasons are attributed to the collapse of the Ksh.200 Million Safaricom-sponsored Sakata soccer tournament across the country. Additionally, telecommunications firm Orange also withdrew from sponsorship of the primary schoolsâ€™ soccer tournament due to unwarranted demand for bribes.
Kenyan soccer lovers have also witnessed the worst form of management at the national level where the countrysâ€™ soccer teams such as the senior national team, the U-23 team, womenâ€™s teams and so forth are often facing crisis while in camp. Consequently, the disappointing performance and results on the pitch whenever any of the national team is playing has left a lot to be desired.
Kenya teams have in the recent past been humiliated by other teams that were hitherto minnows in African footbal. National team players are owed colossal sums of money in the form of unpaid allowances and match-winning bonuses, while foreign-based players labour to get refund for personal moneys they have spent on Air Ticket based on instructions by FKF while called for national duty, with some like first choice goalkeeper Arnold Origi opting to keep-off in the recent past for the same reasons.
Haphazard travel arrangements, which compromises on-field performance, for Harambee Stars has constantly been witnessed, culminating into the near fatal last-minute travel arrangements to Cape Verde despite claims by the Sports Ministry that it released Ksh. 17 Million in good time for the same purpose. This was closely followed by the Ethiopia-CECAFA fiasco, leading to the embarrassing detention of Team Manager Willis Waliaula on behalf of the team.
The subsequent resignation of both the Team Manager and goalkeeper-trainer Mathew Ottamax Owino did not therefore come as a surprise and underlined the pathetic state of Kenyan soccer.With no positive results to show and lack of accountability, the FKF top brass also negotiated a salary of a whopping Ksh. 2.5 Million per month for the Harambee Stars Coach, with rumours rife that the same officials get corresponding monthly kickbacks arising from the same. Kitting of the National Soccer teams is shrouded in contractual mystery, while women football is virtually non-existent.
The 2013 CECAFA cup hosted by FKF was shambolic and poorly managed to the point that teams like Zanzibar vowed never to play in Kenya again. As if that was not enough, Kenyans were treated to theatre of the absurd when FKF sanctioned two parallel Premier leagues during the 2015 season – KPL and FKF Premier Leagues. FKF claimed they had a television and title sponsor ready for the League yet they had not identified them at that point in time. So how is the public supposed to believe them? FKF then went ahead to release dishonest statements to the effect that Gor Mahia,AFC Leopards and Muhoroni Youth FC had agreed to play in the FKF-PL,which the aforementioned Clubs disowned. All these intrigues and innuendos by FKF were going on yet it was clear that all genuine interested parties acknowledge KPL as the official body to run the Premier League in Kenya on behalf of FKF.
There has been virtually no significant development within Kenya football over the last 5 years. Perhaps the only positive aspects of Kenya football in the recent past is the Kenya Premier League (KPL), which the same FKF leadership has viciously attempted to ruin as well. All major football stakeholders in this Country have lost faith in the current FKF leadership. They have merely been hanging onto technicalities which are basically rules that FIFA and CAF have mischievously put in place to protect and keep corrupt officials in office in total contradiction to the Principles of Good Corporate Governance.
Good leadership skills dictates that the moment a leader realizes that he has lost the confidence of his subjects and no longer has the moral authority to govern, he needs to leave office as soon as yesterday instead of waiting to be forced out. My take is that time is up for Nyamweya and his team. They must now leave. Punda Amechoka.