Kenya Football Federation – Officials from the Past to Present

We shall seek to understand the history of football management in Kenya. This sees a chronology of previous office holders and a brief history of the football game in Kenya. (Originally known as Kenya Football Association, it metamorphosised to Kenya Football Federation and is currently split between KFF and Football Kenya Limited  )


{Dislaimer: Some of the information may not be factual as some of the details are not provided and efforts were made to that effect without much success.}

The previous office holders are as follows:
1.Isaac Lugonzo 1963 :- One of the fathers of sport in Kenya who was instrumental in the setting up of clubs with Kenyan natives. He was elected into office as Kenya welcomed her independence but he would oscillate between this and the National Olympics Committee which was becoming more active and involving.

2. John Kasyoka 1964-70 :- Had a rather nondescript term in office but the emergence of top clubs like Gor Mahia and Nakuru FC would be some of the hallmarks of his reign.

3. Martin Shikuku 1970-72 :- Known more for his firebrand in politics, he managed the game for only two years, his term marked Kenya’s entry into the continental scene playing at the Africa Cup of Nations in 1972.
His office was disbanded after claims of corruption were raised.

4. Bill Martins, Williams Ngaah & Dan Owino 1972 -1974 :- B. Martins managed a caretaker committee before passing the buck to William & Dan respectively.

5. Kenneth Matiba – 1974-80 :- Credited with bringing in some form of business acumen into football management then after helping manage Kenya Breweries into a force to reckon with on the local . Under his reign Kenya won the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in 1975 along with 3 consecutive years 81-83. In his term, saw the rise of Kenyan clubs AFC Leopards, Gor Mahia and Kenya Breweries made an impact in continental club football. Youth development was also a hallmark of his term under German tactician Bernard Zgoll.

6.Clement Gachanja – 1981-84 :- He inherited a wealth of experience from Ken Matiba and didn’t disappoint either. Kenyan clubs continued dominating the regional scene and challenge for continental honours. Under his team’s term, Gor Mahia managed to win the Africa Cup Winners Cup in 1987. The same year Kenya’s Harambee Stars settled for silver in the All-Africa Games held in Nairobi, managed by Reinherdt Fabisch as well as qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations for the 2nd time.

7. Joab Omino 1984-1991; 1993-1996:- Under his term, the ‘beautiful game‘ in Kenya started stuttering and encountering management problems. He’s known for the infamous term, “…coaches come in their dozens” after sacking arguably then Kenya’s most successful tactician R.Fabisch for criticising their style of handling the national team. The government of the day also started interfering with the game and disbanded Omino’s team indefinitely.
His second stint though was modestly successful after winning the bid to host Africa Cup of Nations in 1996 only for the Government to rescind on the claim of ‘lack of funds’.  Dismal performances from Kenyan clubs except for Kenya Breweries (now renamed Tusker FC) who came close in 1994 losing to DRC’s Motemo Pembe. Kenya also managed to have among its first professional footballers in the likes of Peter Dawo (who came from Gor Mahia to sign for Egypt’s Arab Contractors & Al Seeb in Oman); Mike Okoth ( Boshar in Oman then KV Oostende and Racing Genk in Belgium).

8. Adams Matthew Karauri 1991-92:– With Kenya qualifying in 1990 and 1992 consecutively, the Government put into place a caretaker committee headed by Mr. Karauri but that was all to write home about. The national team performed dismally in both occasions never getting past the first round (scoring only one goal courtesy of a Mickey Weche penalty in 1992 and soaking in 8 goals in total). The technical bench of the national team changed hands over 3 times in that period.

9. Peter Kenneth 1996-2000:- Taking the reigns in what would be one of the toughest times in Kenyan football after CAF banned the national team for 2 years for Kenya’s failure to host the Africa Cup of Nations in 1996, he managed to avoid controversy that had riddled the game. This though was built on quicksand as would eventually manifest itself in Kenya’s non-qualification. Here the clubs would decline both at the local and regional level with nothing much to show for honours

9. Maina Kariuki 2001-2004:- He had one of the most promising campaigns of a present-day official but his term in office marked the genesis of the current problems in the local game both at national or international level. Consolation though is qualification to the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations. This exposed Kenya’s talent to European scouts and the likes of Dennis Oliech secured signatures in Europe.
The Kenya Premier League was registered as private company under his tenure.

(Normalisation Committee under Kipchoge Keino between June – December 2004)

10. Alfred Sambu 2004- 2007:- He came in after football enthusiasts settled on his candidature in a view of having experienced hands in football management managing the national office. But right from the word go, his team was plagued by court cases, disagreements and boardroom wars. They were unceremoniously bundled out of office as the country braced for the controversial political elections.
The country was also banned indefinitely due to these battles but often these orders were rescinded.

11. Mohammed Hatimy 2007-2011:- Initially attempted throwing Sambu out of office but didn’t manage. He was suspended for 3 months in 2005 by FIFA operatives only to go back into their good books rather fast. After orchestrating a boardroom coup, this man and his minions have run the game with duress at every corner. From the splitting KFF and opening up shop at FKL ( Football Kenya Limited), to running under FIFA’s wings, this period has seen the country totter along rudderless.
Their only consolation is the blossoming Kenya Premier League which has seen the fans slowly stream back into the national stadiums and local clubs enjoy followership and lucrative corporate sponsorship. But let this not blind them as their success at all.
Most recently the country was bundled out of 2012 AFCON qualifiers and also had two of its best stadiums banned for non-compliance on security and crowd management issues.

Shall we find redemption after tomorrow’s elections? Pray Kenyan Football that we will!

SOURCES: Foul Play – The Crisis of Football Management in Kenya, Kenya Football Federation, Wikipedia and KenyaPage, KenyaFootball

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