FKF frustrated by extension on football suspension

The FKF president admits he was left upset by the latest decision to keep in force the ban on contact sports

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has now questioned the motive behind the government’s decision to extend the ban on contact sports until further notice.

The football fraternity suffered a huge blow on Friday after the government, through Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed, confirmed only non-contact sports will be allowed to resume after months of suspension owing to the effects caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but in a phased manner.

“All contact sports [including football] will remain banned until further notice,” Mohamed said on Friday while issuing the final guidelines to sport’s resumption. “However, all non-contact sports will reopen in a phased manner.”

The latest decision has seemingly irked FKF President Nick Mwendwa who feels someone in the Ministry of Sports is working round the clock to have Harambee Stars punished by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) for their failure to honour their upcoming Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

“It was a strange decision and as FKF we are now left frustrated,” Mwendwa told  media on Saturday. “I still don’t understand why we cannot play football in the country whereas politicians are moving recklessly around attracting huge crowds which are not even adhering to the laid down laws of Covid-19.

“I am yet to understand why the government took such a decision when we even wrote to them a week ago asking they allow teams to start preparations for the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) new season, it is a move which I cannot explain and I don’t understand.

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“We wrote to the government and told them our plans to resume the league, we wanted teams to start training late this month and then the new season was pencilled in to kick-off on October 23, we even outlined the measures we will put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19, but surprisingly, the government never came to us, they only decided to issue a statement on Friday without replying to us.”

Mwendwa also wondered why Kenya was the only country in the East African region yet to resume football and wondered whether the Ministry of Sports knew what they are doing to solve the mess.

“Other countries have already started their leagues, Tanzania league is currently on [infact it was played to the end and now has resumed], Uganda have set kick-off dates same as Rwanda, why is Kenya an exception, why can’t we play football?” questioned an agitated Mwendwa.

“Does the Ministry of Sports know exactly what they are doing, especially when it comes to matters football? Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan have either come back or they are coming back, so why should Kenya wait for another one month to come back?

“What it means we might not be able to qualify for the Afcon, we need fit players to play for the national team and the only way to have fit players is for the league come back, the protocol of bringing back football needs to be addressed urgently.

“If people can be allowed to do political rallies, Jua Kali artisans have returned to work, so why not football, football is our day to day bread, if you ask me, the Ministry has sincerely dragged Kenya behind as far as football is concerned and Kenya will now likely lose a slot in Afcon because they will not be ready.

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“Does the Ministry really know what they are doing? I am very frustrated, I am going to write to them again on Monday and tell them the importance of resuming the league, I hope this time around, they will respond with a positive answer, we need to copy what other countries are doing.

“I am very frustrated because we have Harambee Stars matches coming up and players will not be fit because they have not been playing, it clearly shows we will not have a fit team to play against Comoros, while other countries will do, I will knock their door [Ministry of Sports] again on Monday and tell them the impact of resuming the league, I will do it again, I will go back on Monday, I will keep trying.”

Kenya started their campaign for the 2021 Afcon, to be held in Cameroon, with an impressive 1-1 draw away to Egypt. They followed it up with another draw, by the same margin, in Nairobi against Togo.

In Group G, Comoros, who started their campaign with a 1-0 win against Togo before settling for a goalless draw against the Pharaohs, lead with four points

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