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Polarised FKF degenerates to a farce

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NAIROBI, Kenya, June 20- Kenyan football thrives on chaos if developments following the sacking of Francis Kimanzi as national team coach and his immediate appointment as Technical Director are anything to go by.

The fall-out from Harambee Stars missing out on the 2013 Nations Cup and trailing in their 2014 World Cup group continued Wednesday when the polarised Football Kenya Federation (FKF) laid bare all dirty linen in public.

In a script torn right out of wrangles that led to three FIFA bans in the past decade, FKF boss, Sam Nyamweya and his deputy, Sammy Sholei saw their dispute escalate to a farce with the new administration that is barely a year old in office seems headed for an ugly dog fight.

Sholei disowned a decision that was taken by the National Executive Committee (NEC) to appoint Kimanzi and subsequently his predecessor Patrick Naggi to the new post of Executive Officer to open up a new battle front in a trend that has characterized football leadership in the country.

“I herby reject the demands of the two officers and demand for the rightful, professional and transparent procedure of hiring all the federation staff if we want to get our football to the wished levels

“I don’t have issues with having Kimanzi as the technical director but the procedure of hiring must be transparent,” he asserted at a press briefing.

On Sunday, Sholei had led the call for the disbandment of the entire Stars technical bench besides accusing Nyamweya of sleeping on the job as he tore on fellow NEC members whom he accused of corruption, complacency and incompetence.

Nyamweya in a quick rejoinder slammed his deputy for his public criticism.

“We request our NEC members to take collective responsibility regarding the performance of Harambee Stars rather than pretending to work as outsiders and if there are any issues, should be channelled before NEC,” read his statement.

The latest round of brickbats between Nyamweya and Sholei resonate with previous feuding in local football administration that has served to derail development of the game as critical issues take a back seat.

Nyamweya and Sholei were swept to power last year after a protracted process that saw parallel governing bodies, Football Kenya Limited (FKL) and Kenya Football Federation (KFF) brought on board for unified elections when FIFA and the Government elected to work together to bring sanity to the game.

The normalisation process was kicked-off when former Sports Minister; Prof. Helen Sambili met FIFA president, Sepp Blatter in 2009 to seek an end to the impasse between FKL boss Mohammed Hatimy who was said to enjoy world governing body’s support and Nyamweya who had the State behind him.

A report commissioned by Sambili from the committee headed by respected CEO Vimal Shah traced the history of wrangles to a January 2006 Cairo meeting which reinstated Alfred Sambu as chairman of KFF, a move that was resisted by Hatimy who broke ranks to form FKL as Nyamweya assumed leadership of KFF upon election of Sambu to the National Assembly.

Sambili’s predecessor, Maina Kamanda had dissolved KFF in 2005 that invited the wrath of FIFA that subsequently suspended the country from international football.

Amid the wrangles, Kenya’s ranking plummeted from 68 to 135 as the national team missed qualification for both 2006 World Cup and Nations Cup, the 2008 continental showpiece as well as 2010 World and Nations Cup.

“I am not and I will not accept to take any collective responsibilities of a sinking ship when I never get involved in any federation’s decision making,” Sholei whined during his press briefing as he declined to quit the governing body he is so against.

Sholei and Robert Asembo are the only NEC members who were not in Nyamweya’s camp in the run up to the October polls, with the FKF vice-president said to have ditched his candidate, Hussein Mohammed who came second to the incumbent at the 11th hour.

As Sholei was addressing the media on Wednesday fraying his boss, Nyamweya contacted newsrooms with an email allegedly sent by his deputy where he appeared to laud the FKF boss for taking action on Harambee Stars management.

“Thank you sooooo much for heeding my call on change of Harambee Stars Technical bench, I am so humbled. I never mean bad in any way, I know my way of getting to you is a little harsh but sometimes I have to do so because many times I call or seek for a one on one meeting with you, you never make time for me.

“Thank you again and have a good evening,” the short email read in full.

As the pair engages in shadow boxing and playing to the gallery in a blatant attempt to win public favour, Stars are still rudderless, the promised establishment of youth structures is stillborn, the Kenyan top flight league continues producing half backed players and the shake-up in grassroots administration is yet to be felt.

Meanwhile, Kimanzi, has conceded he cannot continue working with the feuding federation in any capacity meaning the governing body needs to knuckle down and seek a new coach and Technical Director.

“With this kind of leadership, Kenyan football will go nowhere. I’m studying my options,” he told Capital Sport in a short but terse statement.

It seems the only hope for Kenyan football is the introduction of politics as the 12th player on the pitch.

On the running feud at the top echelons of FKF, Sholei, a former international midfielder and Tusker FC lynchpin who is serving his maiden term at the helm of his country’s football can surely not expect to shade the wily Nyamweya, a veteran of football intrigues for almost two decades.

Kenya will be better served without the pair bickering like nursery school children contesting over who’s daddy is bigger! They should either get down to work or head to the door marked EXIT!

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