Why Uhuru is the only Kenyan who will touch Fifa World Cup trophy

 Uhuru Kenyatta

President Uhuru Kenyatta holds the Fifa World Cup trophy when it was brought to Kenya in November, last year.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • As the only Kenyan allowed to touch the trophy, a feat reserved for Heads of State and past winners of the World Cup, President Kenyatta is, perhaps, the best-placed person to mediate this problem.
  • With 75 days of his tenure remaining, the Head of State, other than ferrying Harambee Stars players to watch the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil as a motivational stunt, is not remembered for any significant contribution to developing the sport.

President Uhuru Kenyatta will Thursday morning receive the Fifa World Cup trophy at State House, Nairobi, amid a background of confusion on the local football scene.

The trophy, comprising 18-carat gold, and considered the most expensive and significant in modern-day sport, is on a two-day tour of Kenya as part of the festivities to prepare the global football family for the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar in November.

The Trophy will also be hosted at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) for public viewing and a chance to take a photo with it on Friday.

"We are encouraging our consumers to take part in the ongoing promotion for a chance to win VIP tickets to view the trophy. They also get a chance to win a fully paid trip to Qatar to watch two World Cup matches live. We have prepared an unforgettable experience on that day and we urge everyone to prepare to experience the magic of the Fifa World Cup trophy," said Miriam Limo, Frontline Marketing Manager, Coca-Cola Kenya.

Kenya is yet to play at the Fifa World Cup and Harambee Stars, the men's national football team, failed to qualify for the forthcoming edition of the international sporting showpiece after faring dismally in the qualification campaign, underlined by a 6-0 aggregate loss to Mali.

Brazilian legend Juliano Belletti, a World Cup-winning defender, who famously scored Barcelona's winning goal at the 2006 Uefa Champions League final, will accompany the trophy.

Belletti, 45, and coach of popular club Cruizero in his homeland, is best placed to inspire Kenyan footballers to strive and play at the highest level. But he can only do so much.

Kenya is currently serving an indefinite suspension slapped by Fifa owing to 'third-party interference'.

This is in relation to a decision by Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed to disband Football Kenya Federation (FKF) and appoint a Caretaker and Transitional Committees to manage football in the interim.

Fifa has outlawed this decision and demanded at the very least the reinstatement of the suspended officials but Amina has stuck to her guns.

The suspension means Stars and Harambee Starlets, the women's national team, are barred from competing in international engagements including their respective Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Stars are also set to miss out on the Africa Nations Championship with the draw for the qualification matches to be held on Friday.

Worse, Kenyan referees, who had been appointed to officiate at the Qatar World Cup, have been struck off the roster, while Kenyan clubs are set to miss out on competing in continental assignments.

As the only Kenyan allowed to touch the trophy, a feat reserved for Heads of State and past winners of the World Cup, President Kenyatta is, perhaps, the best-placed person to mediate this problem.

With 75 days of his tenure remaining, the Head of State, other than ferrying Harambee Stars players to watch the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil as a motivational stunt, is not remembered for any significant contribution to developing the sport.

After all, it was under his watch that Kenya lost the hosting rights for the 2018 Africa Nations Championship.

What's more, he's built only one of the five state-of-the-art sports grounds he, alongside Deputy President William Ruto, promised Kenyans in 2013, while corporates have shied away from supporting the game in recent times.

The least said about player welfare, the better.

Does the President wish to be remembered as the person who left office when the state of the game is at its lowest? Is he content with Kenyans watching the World Cup trophy at State House.

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