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Fifa, government hail polls

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NAIROBI, Kenya, October 29- The national football elections that concluded on Saturday have received ringing endorsement from both world governing body Fifa and the Government.

The exercise, the first of its kind where club delegates formed the electorate were witnessed by three Fifa officials and top Ministry of Sports representatives including Sports Secretary, Prof Wilson Langat and Commissioner of Sport, Gordon Oluoch.

Fifa director, Member Associations and Development Division, Thierry Regenass led the world body’s monitored team in an exercise they termed as free and fair.

“Visiting voting centres like Pumwani, Jericho and Kariobangi North impressed me with encouraging turnout. Kenyans embraced the process and FIFA will look to continue with the development of the game now that the wrangles and crisis will be resolved,” Regenass said.

He added: “It’s the first time that we have ever had this kind of voting with clubs participating in the process that is different from the delegate system normally used in football elections but I have to say it has proved to be very successful and we must commend IEB and IIEC.”

Leodegar Tenga and Ashford Mamelodi accompanied the director.

“It’s a great day for Kenya because it has been a long process and hopefully, the country can move forward from here and develop the game and it’s up to you to make them accountable,” Tenga, who is also the Tanzania FA president, noted.

“We are very happy with what we have seen now and Fifa will continue supporting the country to make it realise its vision. It will not be an easy process but there is much potential in the country,” Mamelodi stressed.

For Olouch, “The process was credible and it has led us to the final verdict where football stakeholders made their aspirations known and as a Government, we accept their decision.”

The body that organised the exercise, Independent Electoral Board (IEB) chairman, Joe Okwach, said, “Our mandate has ended with this process but although it was protracted, the legacy of the elections will they have laid the platform for other sports in the country to emulate. Sport will no longer be taken as a leisure activity.”

IEB was formed after the Kenyan government and FIFA came together to press for unified football elections after the country held the distinction of having two bodies, Football Kenya Limited and Kenya Football Federation claim to be the legitimate administrators of the sport.

The formation a new association to run the game will be the first task for the newly elected officials when confirmed to office.

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