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Nyamweya eyeing to be football don at last

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NAIROBI, Kenya, October 28- The name Samuel Keengu Nyamweya or Sam Nyamweya as he is commonly known, has been synonymous with Kenyan football management for over one and a half decades.

When he finally realised his cherished dream of ascending to the summit of Kenya Football Federation (KFF) in 2006, his mandate as the don of the country’s football was however, rocked by having the rival Football Kenya Limited led by erstwhile ally turned foe, Mohammed Hatimy given recognition by world governing body Fifa.

On Saturday, Nyamweya is out to be finally enthroned as the games’ supremo despite the fact that he remains one of the most divisive figures in Kenyan football.

“When our football was hijacked by a private entity, everything went from bad to worse with our rankings dropping every month. During our period, we had a good relationship with the world soccer body Fifa where President Sepp Blatter visited Kenya twice. Kenya is hungry for a rebirth in football,” Nyamweya told SuperSport.com.

To his ardent supporters, the period between 1999 and 2004 when he was the Secretary General of KFF saw Kenya enjoy a football renaissance, with an appearance and a first ever victory at the 2004 Nations Cup the crowning moment.

At the time, Harambee Stars featured in high profile build-up matches such as their 4-3 loss to English Premiership side, Bolton Wanderers at The Reebok.

A return to this age is what Nyamweya is promising should he be elected.

But there is no mistaking the man who has been variously involved with relegated Shabana FC and KPL side Rangers has been singled out as one of the main architects of the football management morass that has choked Kenyan football.

Nyamweya’s quest for football leadership saw him present a case before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the highest international organ for sport litigation in a case that almost brought Kenya’s football to its knees with threats of Fifa bans.

At the height of his tussle with Hatimy, Kenya was issued with two Fifa indefinite suspensions between 2006 and 2008 with their pitch battles spreading to the league where one time we had KFF A and KFF B parallel competitions.

A darling of a section of sports media, Nyamweya has employed charm, coercion and in cases, his vast resources to push his agenda and for him, nothing short of being the bona fide football boss will do.

Horned from his days as a Kenya National African Union (KANU) operative who was involved in the much maligned Youth for Kanu 92’ campaign machine for former President Daniel arap Moi, Nyamweya certainly knows his way around the country’s football and political minefield.

“We should vote in leaders with a track record in football and I believe I have done so much for the country’s football and given the chance, the future will be even better,” he stressed.

An avowed opponent of companies running football, Nyamweya was vehemently against the Kenyan Premier League when it was founded in 2008 in addition to his long held disregard for FKL.

But he has softened his stance as the elections approached, saying once elected, he would seek to streamline KPL rather than abolish it as was his initial plot.

“Despite the success of KPL we should ensure that the positive gains are not lost. My administration will seek to strengthen the league and insist that officiating and disciplinary issues are de-linked from the company.”

That Nyamweya’s name is in the ballot papers is in itself, a testament of his ability to emerge from serious aspersions to his character unscathed.

Initially, Kenya Revenue Authority declined to hand him a tax certificate required as a prerequisite to contest for the elections and serious allegations on embezzlement, corruption and abuse of office have failed to stick.

Although it is said Nyamweya enjoys backing from State mandarins and his devoted press corps, most Kenyans would relish the end of his involvement in the sport but with clubs affiliated to his KFF forming one half of the voting electorate, he is not done yet.

NYAMWEYA CAMPAIGN KEY POINTS

– Transparency and accountability in football
– Streamlining KPL by separating disciplinary and officiating functions from the company
– Establishment of vibrant women football
– Bring corporate sponsorship to football
– Restore youth football structures

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