As the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) elections drew close, with ten days to go, it was disheartening the way the Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT) threw a spanner in the way of the incumbent, president Nick Mwendwa’s quest for re-election.
The country had spoken; through the counties, Kenyans had given Mwendwa a seal of approval by not opposing him for the presidency – a clear indication of their confidence in his leadership for the past four years.
However, the tribunal contested the eligibility rules in a situation where no aspiring candidate disputed the electoral code and others who didn’t express their interests in vying complaining of being left out by the rules.
The fact remains, Mwendwa has brought stability at the federation through accountability and sound management which has won the confidence of football stakeholders and sponsors as well as improving the country’s soccer standards.
In terms of change, Kenya’s national football team Harambee Stars made a return to the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) last year in Egypt after a 15-year hiatus, which is no mean achievement; a feat that had eluded two regimes.
Since Mwendwa took over, his administration has laid emphasis on women’s football which had been overlooked by successive regimes.
Mwendwa’s administration started functional women’s leagues where an insatiable hunger of playing football was met by the ladies coming out in droves to play the beautiful game.
Last year, Kenya’s national women’s team Harambee Starlets won the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup, three years after making a first ever appearance at the Africa Women Cup of Nations (AWCON), under Mwendwa’s watch.
The controversy surrounding the non-payment of players allowances is a thing of the past as no such complaints have been registered since Mwendwa took over. No wonder our national teams have excelled.
The Federation has started a youth programme by setting up a National Center of Excellence to nurture upcoming talent for the future, which will lays a great path for Kenya to qualify for the 2026 World Cup and place Kenya at the international stage.
Mwendwa’s administration has been able to secure funding for grassroots leagues. If the roots of a plant which are a crop’s foundation are strong, the base will be firm.
The technical section of football is the heart of the sport and without it is like a human being operating without a heart or like a computer that does not have a CPU.
Mwendwa has endeavoured to build the capacity of coaches and referees who are the main football technicians through training in which more have graduated at various levels in that there’s no shortage of tacticians and whistlers.
That has created employment to individuals officiating and coaching, improved football standards as others are ripe to referee in international matches as has been the case in a number of top competitions ranging from World Cup, to continental and regional showpieces.
Plea to Sports Ministry
Based on the gains made by Mwendwa’s administration, it is my humble plea to the Sports Minister Amb. Amina Mohammed, to lead in not interfering with the decision communicated by FIFA as regards the FKF elections.
Amina, you are a mother and a career diplomat, don’t allow Kenya, the country you diligently represented and jealously guarded at the international stage to be banned for non-compliance of FIFA’s directive for the sake and good of our nation, sons’ and daughters’ future and economic stability.
Last but not least, I call upon Mzee Sam Nyamweya to quit honourably from the scene as he has outlived his usefulness. His place in the modern history of Kenyan football is already assured; don’t soil your legacy by presiding over another disaster by hanging on.
The writer is the Organizing Secretary of Gor Mahia Football Club