Kenyan Football – Of Elections, KPL & Cup of Nations qualifiers

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The disconnect in the Kenyan football game has been playing on the scene for the better part of this week. Here are some of our pickings and thoughts about the same;

Elections Finally?

First the Interim Elections Board (IEB) confirmed receiving FIFA’s funds around $ 100,000 with the Kenyan Government also footing the balance with an almost equivalent amount of slightly over $ 100,000 ( cash and in kind from Kenya corporate organisations). This was after the Interim Independent Elections Commission ( IIEC) had forwarded their budget for conducting the long-awaited polls. These must be the most expensive polls conducted by any sports body in the country.
That FIFA asked the Kenyan Government to foot their part of the bill should now mean that FIFA should allow the Government and by extension the Kenyan people to ‘own the game’ more. These polls would have come a long time ago and sorted the Kenyan football game if we had the wherewithal to reprimand corrupt and inept sports officials like the circus we’ve had with FKL and KFF. And it is revealed the interest the game generates not just from officials both legit and those with selfish interests. The corporate world has also been waiting in the wings to come on board and sprinkle the game with some goodies.
KPL Fixtures & Disciplinary Action

It is true that the
2011 Premier League as run by KPL has been an interesting proposition and the evidence from the buzz the games have generated is there for all to see. The teams have also been enjoying favourable and growing fan-bases for their players and on and off pitch antics. The screening of the games too has helped make this one of the best up and coming leagues in the continent.
But a few concerns here for KPL, there has been an inconsistent approach to the making of fixtures.
The most scandalous was the Ulinzi FC games where the team had taken the East African (in Burundi) and World Military Games ( in Brazil) representing the COUNTRY. Instead of moving their games, the KPL docked them 6 points and this was after raising genuine reasons for the same.
Reverse this and take to the disciplinary side, we have seen some teams get of too easy with little or no reprimand even after their fans continue raising security concerns for the teams, referees and general public. Gor Mahia is the biggest culprit here and their fans have been involved in more than one altercation since the season started.
We have a grudge match of the same with AFC Leopards coming up and though both teams officials are assuring fans of their security, what we saw after they drew last weekend doesn’t make one feel too safe after all. Carry bare essentials I would say…
If the KPL officials are to be seen to be above board, such minuscule but significant decisions NEED be taken if we’re to retain order and discipline in our game now and in future.
Kenya v/s Uganda 8th October in Namboole

This is a significant fixture in Kenya’s national team’s assignments and if we shall hope to challenge for continental honours in 2013. But quickly back to KPL, why would you fix major games a week or so to the game?
It is true you are running a league where a select few of the players are picked from for national duty. But it puts our boys at cross-purpose when the game at national and international level is not given the importance it deserves. Many of the players are proud to wear the national colours but not when they know it might not earn them any win or prestige among their peers.
Back the Oct 8 fixture, we have seen a flurry of activity as we try to equal what Ugandan fans showed us last year in the first game for the Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Kenyan politicians and media houses have been asking Kenyans to get their travel bags, fancy red t-shirts to quite literally ‘paint Kampala and Nelson Mandela Stadium red‘.
Where’s the FKL or KFF in all this? Uganda’s football body FUFA managed to lobby politicians and companies to bankroll fans coming to Nairobi last year and most Kenyan fans were stunned at the sheer numbers and the seemingly better co-ordinated fans from our erstwhile neighbours.
We know you’re busy strategising for the upcoming elections and maybe the finances don’t look so good after the postponement of elections 3 times. Maybe you can pull a few strings and endear yourselves to the discerning Kenyan fans and delegates.
But this is another major failure by football officials from Kenya to promote and try to get fans to rally behind their national team. We need a football association that cares NOT about how well their pockets are lined but one which serves to promote our kind of game within and across the borders.
CECAFA is back with us in November, what shall Harambee Stars have to show for it?

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