After months and months of giving veiled hints and pushing his agenda through court cases, Sam Keengu Nyamweya, the former Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president, on Sunday 19 April declared his intention to return to the top seat of Kenyan football.
This makes him just the second to make official the interest to run for the FKF President’s seat, after Nick Mwendwa.
On Saturday 10 February, 2016, Nyamweya, faced by a massive wave of opposition and heading to the FKF national elections no longer as a frontrunner, he stepped down right in front of the delegates at Kasarani Stadium.
He said: “I have made this decision out of love for the game, the passion and appreciation that no good leader should be pushed to give up power and that; while I may still possess the energy and drive to lead FKF, there may be others with fresh vigour and charisma to take over and my input would be much more relevant in alternative spheres of service.”
His declaration to step down came on the back of poor management of Harambee Stars as the team travelled to Cape Verde for a World Cup qualification match at the end of 2015, and a subsequent shambolic tour of Ethiopia for the CECAFA Senior Challenge where an official of the team was detained in Addis Ababa as the team left.
The end of his era that ran from 2011 to early 2016 was marked by dark moments in Kenyan football and his move to step down was hailed as one of the few rights he did during his tenure.
He went silent for most of the years after his resignation speech at Kasarani, but has somehow found his footing, as captured in his statement confirming he is willing to return to football management.
“In view of the foregoing and for avoidance of doubt and with a true sense of humility I, Sam Nyamweya, offer myself for the candidature of the President of Football Kenya Federation in the soon upcoming FKF Elections once the Covid – 19 pandemic is contained and upon resumptions of normalcy in our activities and daily operations,” he declares in his statement.
One of the biggest errors during his tenure lives on even as Nyamweya seeks a return to the helm of the federation; the sacking of former Harambee Stars head coach Adel Amrouche, which now threatens to lock Kenya out of the qualification for the 2022 World Cup.
He acknowledges mistakes made during his tenure, as he promises a better turn for Kenyan football, which he laces with at least one promise – to extend the contract with the Kenyan Premier League (KPL), which was sealed during his tenure.
“In the past I did a well respected job in bringing football to the highest level in the world. “Yes, I made mistakes, but it is human to make errors and then learn from them. That learning will increase my vigour and fairness in the future.
“My forthcoming leadership at FKF will extend the contract to run the top tier league with KPL for the sake of stability and continuity,” he adds.
In light of everything, Nyamweya’s declaration of interest comes after the FKF polls have been canceled twice by the Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT), with Nyamweya a key player on both occasions.
Nyamweya is on record citing disagreement with the management of the elections and it will be interesting to see just how this plays out, especially after voicing his support for the formation of a Normalization Committee to run football in the country.