Corruption blights Kenya’s quest for football glory

When a youthful Nick Mwendwa took over the reins of Kenyan football 5 years prior to now, he was welcomed as a model new broom who would clear up the troubled sport — nonetheless now he himself stands accused of corruption.

The recreation was plunged into extra turmoil this month when the federal authorities disbanded the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) for alleged embezzlement of public funds, and appointed a caretaker committee headed by a retired select to run its affairs.

FKF boss Mwendwa, 42, was arrested at a Nairobi lodge and hauled into court docket docket to face allegations of financial impropriety, and has since been banned from the federation’s headquarters and all football actions.

Sports Minister Amina Mohamed spoke of an “extended deterioration inside the state of football administration in Kenya” as she accused the FKF of failing to account for 1000’s and 1000’s of {{dollars}} from the federal authorities and sponsors.

Mwendwa, who will also be the proprietor of top-flight league membership the Kariobangi Sharks, has denied any wrongdoing.

But former FKF secretary frequent Lordvick Aduda said the current state of affairs was no shock as there was a “systematic drain” of administration on the football governing physique.

“We are at our lowest ebb. We are lowest in respect to effectivity, funding and administration,” Aduda instructed AFP.

World-renowned as an athletics powerhouse, Kenya has prolonged struggled to repeat its success on the monitor in the popular recreation on the planet.

– Gold-plated trophy –

Mwendwa was first elected FKF head in 2016 after campaigning on an daring “workforce change” agenda, pledging a sequence of swift and sweeping actions to cope with the challenges he inherited.

His forerunner Sam Nyamweya’s two-decade rule was dogged by claims of corruption and mismanagement, highlighted by an embarrassing incident in 2018 when the nationwide workforce was stranded at an airport sooner than a World Cup qualifier as a result of a shortage of funds.

“We will make it attainable for all of the issues is functioning correct from the grassroots,” Mwendwa said after his election, vowing to make Kenya a “good football nation”

But these goals of glory did not materialise, leaving Kenyan football in a dismal state.

Mwendwa’s tenure has been marred by the equivalent kind of allegations of malpractice that peppered his predecessor’s rule, whereas on the pitch Kenya’s nationwide workforce the Harambee Stars have did not shine.

Earlier this 12 months, Mwendwa was positioned on the spot over his option to buy a 24-carat gold-plated trophy worth larger than $50,000 for the premier league champions — whereas the workforce that gained the women’s league pocketed a paltry 300,000 Kenyan shillings (decrease than $2,700).

Football’s world governing physique FIFA has now threatened to ban Kenya if it considers the federal authorities movement in the direction of the FKF unwarranted third-party meddling.

Kenya has twice confronted such bans in 2004 and 2006 as a result of authorities interference — coincidentally whereas the federation was moreover stopping claims of corruption.

– ‘Good money after unhealthy’ –

Aduda voiced doubt that the caretaker committee, which is in charge of the FKF until elections in about six months’ time, would improve the sport’s fortunes.

“Nobody goes to throw good money after unhealthy,” said Aduda, who misplaced out to Mwendwa when he was re-elected as FKF boss in 2020.

Kenya did not qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon in January and are moreover out of the working for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar — qualification was definitely one in all Mwendwa’s much-vaunted pledges.

The workforce are presently ranked a lowly 104 by FIFA — beneath even the Democratic Republic of Congo — and have not been inside the excessive 100 since 2017.

Poor administration, cancelled sponsorship provides, ageing players and a revolving door of coaches — seven since 2016 — have been blamed for their uninspiring performances.

Adding insult to hurt, the Confederation of African Football closing month said Kenya’s two most essential stadiums have been lower than worldwide necessities.

But points moreover run deep at native stage — unpaid membership salaries, contract violations and poorly run championships.

There are few incentives for children, with a shortage of structured teaching programmes or respectable pitches outside the capital, so many hand over football sooner than secondary faculty age.

“The state of football in Kenya is not going to be encouraging,” lamented Bob Oyugi, a former coach with Kenya’s most worthwhile membership Gor Mahia,. He has often known as for the FKF’s construction to be overhauled to permit further grassroots involvement.

Former Kenya skipper Musa Otieno blamed the poor necessities on the endemic graft that has left players unpaid and drained money away from efforts to develop the game.

“Once elected, the officers neglect the mandate that launched them to power. They put their pursuits ahead of sport,” Otieno instructed AFP.

“The people who will battle are the players.”

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