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Nyamweya: Sudan are to blame

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NYAMWEYA-NOCKNAIROBI, Kenya, March 5- The FIFA Day international friendly between Harambee Stars and Sudan that was scheduled for Wednesday was officially called off under a cloud of controversy.

This is after the fixture was allegedly switched to the AL Fashar Stadium in northern city of Darfur and reportedly pushed to Thursday by the Sudanese federation.

Speaking to Capital Sport, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president, Sam Nyamweya, claimed the hosts had changed the details of the game and they had no option but to boycott the fixture.

“The contract we had to them was for us to play in Khartoum. According to FIFA regulations, we cannot plan for a game in one venue then change it. We care about our players; they are our boys and brothers.

“The game is off; we cannot play in Darfur where we are not even sure about the security of our team and we cannot allow that since it is not what we agreed with Sudan. So, I have no problem with the team coming back because we have to take care of the welfare of our players,” Nyamweya told Capital Sport Wednesday.

The team departed Nairobi on Tuesday night and got to Khartoum Airport where they were informed of the change of venue before the players, who had agreed to take to the pitch in the Sudanese capital later Wednesday, declined to travel to Darfur.

“We wish to clarify that FKF had an invitation to play Sudan Falcons in Khartoum, Sudan on 5th March 2014, which was designated as a Federation of International Football Federations (FIFA) match-day on the global calendar.

“FKF only accepted that Harambee Stars plays the match as per the terms stated on the invitation letter, which did not suggest anything to the contrary as regards the match venue being elsewhere other than Khartoum.

“Neither was there any insinuation of possible change of venue or match date before our team left Nairobi,” Nyamweya added in a statement sent to newsroom shortly after.

“The situation of our players being asked to travel to another destination for the match was an innuendo that FKF takes great exception of and that mischief led to the head of delegation to maintain that no further travelling will be accepted because that was contrary to the terms to which we committed ourselves to before the match.

“The team will, consequently, travel back home and we will not be under any obligation to honour the match,” the federation boss added.

Nyamweya attached a copy of the invitation letter dated February 27 and signed by Mahmoud Bin Saaed, an agent acting on behalf of the Sudan Football Association (SFA).

“FKF will demand that the organisers are held accountable for this botch-up and that FIFA takes action against those responsible. We have incurred expenses that we will be demanding that requisite compensation be considered and the match be awarded to us since we turned up for the match only for it not be,” Nyamweya charged.

The fixture was to have an impact on FIFA rankings with Kenya sending a strong side with eight Europe based players including Southampton FC EPL midfielder and captain, Victor Wanyama.

However, other reports claim the Sudanese had informed the Kenyan counterparts on the Darfur venue beforehand with FKF said to have been offered $20,000 (Sh1,731,002.25) payable upon arrival.

Nyamweya’s statement was silent on the financial claim instead pointing out in the copy of the letter from Sudan that FKF were to pay “30 return tickets for his delegation to Sudan/Khartoum.”

According to the document, SFA was to provide full board accommodation for 30 people, visas and local transport.

The last time the federations clashed was at December’s CECAFA Senior Challenge cup when Sudan were detained for hours ahead of the final against Harambee Stars for the non-clearance of hotel bills.

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