What you need to know:
- FKF has asked to be allowed to resume local competitions
- As FKF waits for feedback, two former footballers from Nyanza have urged Kisumu County government to motivate All Stars squad ahead of the play-off, saying it will increase the team’s chances of surviving relegation
- All Stars, fondly known to fans as ‘Otenga’ joined the top league last season, but won only two matches
If football was among the sports the government allowed to resume in the country, Sunday would mark 10 days to the first leg of Football Kenya Federation Premier League (FKF-PL) play-off between Kisumu All Stars and Vihiga United.
FKF had penciled the first-leg of the play-off for October 7, with the return leg on October 11.
But since football was classified as a contact sport, it remains suspended and the match is unlikely to proceed as planned, unless the Sports ministry grants FKF’s request and allows for the resumption of local football activities.
On Thursday, FKF CEO Barry Otieno told Nation Sport that the federation had written to the government seeking permission to resume competitions.
As FKF waits for feedback, two former footballers from Nyanza have urged Kisumu County government to motivate All Stars squad ahead of the play-off, saying it will increase the team’s chances of surviving relegation.
Gor Mahia legends Maurice ‘Ole Tunda’ Ouma and Maurice ‘Sonyi’ Ochieng’ have said All Stars players should not be left out when the devolved unit starts settling workers’ arrears that resulted from the delay by the Senate Assembly in adopting county revenue sharing formula.
“Now that the Senate has passed the formula for sharing revenue and money is expected in the counties soon, the county government should prioritise payment of salary arrears owed to All Stars players as a motivation before the game,” Ochieng' said.
"During our time, we could play even without pay but life has become so hard that it is embarrassing and unfair for players to stay for over six months without salaries.”
Ouma added: “This is the time for Kisumu County to show its seriousness in sponsoring the team. It is sad the team has undergone tough times throughout.
“The support should also come from even other quarters and not just from the county alone. The region has produced a lot of talent in football and it is sad that players have been neglected by our leaders.”
All Stars, fondly known to fans as ‘Otenga’ joined the top league last season, but won only two matches.
They finished 16th in last season’s contest that was cancelled due to Covid-19, a result that some of the players have blamed on lack of motivation as they hardly received salaries and allowances on time.
Since July, the players have depended on Sh10, 000 monthly stimulus package from the government to make ends meet.
One group of players last received wages from the county government in February, but another is owed since April. All the players in the team have run out of contract and do not know their fate.
The players are demotivated and only a few attend training sessions at Obunga Stadium.
The team must defeat National Super League side Vihiga United in the two-legged play-off to escape the fate of Sony Sugar FC and Chemelil FC who have been relegated to the second-tier league.