Avire transfer saga rolls on despite making Tanta debut

Despite making his debut for Egyptian side Tanta FC on Wednesday 11 March, the transfer saga involving the player, the club and former Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions, Sofapaka is set to trudge on.

Sofapaka president Elly Kalekwa has stated that the club has not issued a release for the player, whose move to Tanta was first reported in August 2019, as he tried to force his way out of a running contract, citing unpaid dues.

Avire played for 77 minutes on his first appearance as Tanta drew 0-0 with Wadi Degla in the Egyptian top flight and Kalekwa is at a loss on how he was cleared without the issuance of the International Transfer Certificate (ITC) from the Football Kenya Federation (FKF).

“He has no ITC, because he needs a release from Sofapaka to ignite the process of acquiring the ITC. We have not officially released him so it is incomprehensible how he gets to feature for another team, in another country,” he told Soka.

FIFA aware

Kalekwa further revealed that FIFA has since been made aware of the matter and he hopes for a speedy and amicable solution.

“FIFA is handling that matter. We trust that the decision coming out of it will be fair for all parties because we know he is a good player and he needs to be out there playing,” Kalekwa added.

Meanwhile, the FKF Competitions Manager Frank Ogolla confirmed that indeed no ITC has been issued for the player but noted that he has provisional clearance from FIFA, to allow him feature for Tanta as the two clubs engage on a possible compensation.

FIFA’s powers

“We haven’t issued the ITC yet, but it is within FIFA’s powers to allow for provisional registration and they did just that after in their wisdom, they felt barring the player would be to disadvantage him, since the two clubs had shown willingness to engage.

“Sofapaka are open to talks, as they want a compensation for their player and Tanta are willing to sit down with Sofapaka to strike an agreement, so FIFA thought it best to allow the player play,” Ogolla clarified.

Avire was part of the Kenya national team that took part in the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt. The saga that brewed from his transfer forced former FKF CEO Robert Muthomi to step down after being accused of aiding the player move from Sofapaka in contravention of laid down transfer regulations.

Muthomi would not return to FKF, and Barry Otieno, who had been named the acting CEO in his absence, was confirmed in the position.