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Nyamweya takes commanding lead in polls

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NAIROBI, Kenya, October 29- Kenya Football Federation (KFF) chairman, Samson Keengu Nyamweya looks set to ascend to the leadership of the country’s football after establishing a commanding lead in Saturday’s elections.

With results from 52 out 67 polling centres already received, the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) chief returning officer, Anthony Njoroge, announced that Nyamweya has polled 1,041 votes or 38 percent with closest challenger, Hussein Mohammed trailing with 737.

Football Kenya Limited (FKL) chairman, Mohammed Hatimy who has been at the helm of Kenyan football for the last three years is third on 484 with Gor Mahia chief, Ambrose Rachier closing the top four with 227 votes.

In the race for the national vice-chairmanship, former Harambee Stars and Tusker FC midfielder, Sammy Sholei looks set to be the number two man in Kenyan football with a clear lead over his closest contestant, Omar Mohammed, who is Nyamweya’s running mate.

Sholei has garnered 1,209 votes with Mohammed second on 867 with another former international, John ‘Controller’ Murila third with 263 from results of 50 polling centres.

“We are having a problem with the network we are using to transmit the results from various centres with some like Embakasi with large number of voters still counting their ballots,” Njoroge announced to quell the anxiety that was building at the national tallying centre at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

Meanwhile, the football elections received a ringing from FIFA with the world governing body saying the exercise has laid the foundation to resuscitate the country’s tattered game.

Three FIFA officials led by the director, Member Associations and Development Division, Thierry Regenass monitored the exercise they termed as free and fair upon visiting a number of polling stations in the capital Nairobi.

“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.”

FIFA officials 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,” Tenga, who is also the Tanzania FA president, noted.
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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