What you need to know:
- Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Youth Affairs and the Arts, Ababu Namwamba said that the government was not involved when FKF named Firat at the head coach back on September 19, 2021
- Namwamba dispelled information that the government has not paid Firat his salary as rumours saying they can only commit to something they are privy and signatory to
- Namwamba explained that after being furnished with the contract, he will then discuss it with the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) to know the way forward
The government has directed Football Kenya Federation (FKF) to furnish it with the national football team, Harambee Stars head coach, Engin Firat’s contract.
Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Youth Affairs and the Arts, Ababu Namwamba said that the government was not involved when FKF named Firat at the head coach back on September 19, 2021.
Namwamba dispelled information that the government has not paid Firat his salary as rumours saying they can only commit to something they are privy and signatory to.
“We have requested for his contract since we want to know the terms and conditions specified in the contract,” said Namwamba, adding that he has already held talks with the coach and FKF but the nitty-gritty of his engagement was not discussed.
Namwamba explained that after being furnished with the contract, he will then discuss it with the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) to know the way forward.
Namwamba was speaking during the live Nation Television (NTV) 7pm Swahili news “Hatma Ya Michezo Nchini” talk show hosted by Frederick Muitiriri on Monday.
The 53-year-old former Turkish international became the 45th head coach of the senior men’s national team after replacing Jacob “Ghost” Mulee.
After facing criticism from Kenyans over his tactical approach following a series of poor performances, Firat lamented that he is in trouble with his family.
This was after Harambee Stars suffered a shocking 1-0 defeat to Bright Stars of South Sudan in a friendly on September 12 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
Firat said despite not being paid his salary, he still sacrifices to use his own money on administrative matters concerning the team.
A source at FKF had hinted that Firat has not been paid his salary since November last year amounting to millions of shillings but couldn’t disclose the figure.
“It’s always the case when in trouble, someone will look for an excuse,” said Namwamba, adding that Harambee Stars friendlies where they stunned Qatar 2-1 before losing to South Sudan 1-0 are part of their preparations for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.
“We rather lose in a friendly but identify our weaknesses and work on them ahead of a major event,” said Namwamba, adding that the hype that occurred before the South Sudan match where President William Ruto was also involved in order to drive fans to the stadia will continue unabated.
“I want to thank Kenyans for turning up in numbers despite it being a weekday to cheer for the Harambee Stars. It shows as a country we are hungry for more internationals and good results,” said Namwamba.
Namwamba noted that the ban by the world football governing body, Fifa, in February last year, had a great economic impact on local football.
"Livelihoods were killed as people lost jobs," noted Namwamba.
The ban was lifted after nine months after Namwamba reinstated the FKF office that had been disbanded by former Sports CS Amina Mohammed in November 2021, replacing it with a caretaker committee.
“We had to start afresh and we have a good opportunity to rebuild our country’s football under the Talanta Hela structures,” said Namwamba reiterating that FKF elections must be held in February next year as scheduled.
Namwamba said that in his recent submission to the Senate Committee on Labour and Social Welfare chaired by West Pokot Senator Julius Murgor, he disclosed having written to Fifa explaining the state of Kenyan football.
“I told Fifa and the Senate about the challenges we are facing in football and that the government must be involved in the FKF election to ensure a free and fair process,” said Namwamba.
Namwamba said that court cases have derailed elections at Athletics Kenya for seven years and Kenya Swimming Federation for five years among other sports federations.
“We are trying to resolve the swimming case after World Aquatics banned Kenya last month, putting in place a Stabilisation Committee,” said Namwamba.