Stakeholders should save Kenyan football from another Nick Mwendwa moment

AMina Mohamed

Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed speaks during a press conference at Kencom House, Nairobi where she disbanded Football Kenya Federation and formed a caretaker committee on November 11, 2021.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Amina has done her part, Ringera will oversee the transition but it’s only genuine football stakeholders who can save the game. Over to you “watu wa ball”, no more fence-sitting, the clock is ticking!  

Today marks Day 1 in office of the caretaker committee appointed by Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed to take over the management of football in the country following allegations of misappropriation of funds on Nick Mwendwa's regime at Football Kenya Federation (FKF).

As the Retired Justice Aaron Ringera-led committee starts its six-month term, Kenyan football stakeholders have high hopes that the team comprised of lawyers, seasoned sports administrators, ex-military officers will help the game recover from years of steady decline.

The beautiful game is often an effective tool of national unity but in the last six years, it has been used to divide rather than unite with the previous administration picking fights with almost every player in the football ecosystem.

From journalists being denied entry to stadiums to cover matches, sponsors exiting prematurely, players complaining over unpaid allowances, coaches being fired on ‘mutual consent’, to the top tier being reduced to a nondescript league, football has suffered and Amina did the right thing.

As has been the norm over the last six years, Mwendwa was his usual boisterous self on Thursday, dismissing Amina’s move. However, that should not deter the government’s resolve to sanitise football and rid it of footballpreneurs who have fattened their bank accounts at the expense of innocent players.   

Even though victims of the previous regime will find it hard to forgive Mwendwa’s administration for the exit of sponsors such as SuperSport who had elevated our top tier to uncharted waters, I’m compelled to forgive. I was raised well, my heart softened by various teachings at the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) and inevitably learnt to forgive but my natural stubborn self has ensured my brain hardly forgets.

Six years is such a long time for someone who assumed office with goodwill from all quarters to have achieved so little worth writing home about. In fact, the losses outdo the gains and it’s for this reason that I insist Mwendwa and his henchmen should leave Kenyan football for good.

As Ringera and his team gets down to work, Amina should ignore threats of a possible Fifa ban and remain focused on her mission to revive Kenyan football. The move to appoint a caretaker committee is certainly a step in the right direction and the indefatigable Sports Registrar Rose Wasike should also move with speed to ensure FKF complies with the Sports Act ahead of the all-inclusive football elections.

More importantly, football stakeholders should ensure that they carefully vet the candidates in the upcoming polls. For Kenyan football to move to the next level, the next FKF President should be an upgrade of Mwendwa and his predecessors Sam Nyamweya, Mohamed Hatimy (R.I.P), Alfred Sambu, Maina Kariuki et al.

It’s not lost on anyone that Mwendwa ascended to power after stakeholders unanimously called for the ouster of Nyamweya in the 2016 polls. So obsessed were we with change that we forgot to carefully vet Mwendwa whose regime has turned out to be worse than that of his mentor Nyamweya.

I refuse to accept that there is a shortage of credible people who can run Kenyan football in the right way and achieve tangible results.

It’s high time genuine football  stakeholders step up and vie for these elective posts else they shouldn’t complain when errant individuals take over the running of the game.

Amina has done her part, Ringera will oversee the transition but it’s only genuine football stakeholders who can save the game. Over to you “watu wa ball”, no more fence-sitting, the clock is ticking!  


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