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Coaches supply footballers with drugs

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CHEMU-HURDLENAIROBI, Kenya, October 17 – Local coaches have been accused of supplying prohibited substances to their players in a rampant culture of drug abuse in Kenyan football.

According to the Prof. Moni Wekesa led Anti-Doping Taskforce report released Friday by Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Arts and Culture, Dr. Hassan Wario, the use of Cannabis Sativa (bhang), Cathine, Cocaine, anabolic steroids, stimulants and alcohol was widespread among footballers.

“In football there is wide spread of bhang which to a very large extent is encouraged by coaches and they (coaches) told us even in their playing days they were using the stuff. Bang is on the list of prohibited substances but it’s something that can be put under control if they are sensitized.

“Other products like Cocaine and Cathine are imported while others are sold clandestinely by drug peddlers,” Wekesa declared.

The report identified former Harambee Stars and Mathare United defender, Phillip Opiyo as the only Kenyan player to returned a positive dope test for Cannabis sativa while playing for South Africa’s Bush Buck in 2005.

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) was blamed for failing to carry out any doping tests and sensitising the players and coaches on the issue.

The taskforce recommended enactment of legislation to establish an Anti-Doping Authority to administer the laws, sensitize the youth, players, coaches, team managers and medical personnel on doping, establish local testing facilities and allocating budget for Anti-Doping activities at various levels.

Speaking to Capital Sport moments after the report was released; FKF boss Sam Nyamweya endorsed it, saying they will implement the recommendations.

“The report is good because most of our players do use those banned substances and we are going to read the report and take the necessary action. We need our players to be clean and if coaches are found culpable then they will face the consequences,” the only leader of a major sporting discipline present at the function said.

The task force was constituted last year by Wario to investigate the allegations into abuse of performance enhancing drugs and substances by Kenyan athletes among other issues interviewed 133 persons from various sports federations and 1,500 sportspersons in Nairobi, Eldoret, Kapsabet, Iten, Mombasa, Kakamega and Kisumu.

-Rampant abuse-

“Where we got information about shops selling prohibited substances, we summoned the owners and found out the use of the banned substances is rampant and cuts across all sports including darts.

“The use is mostly accidental but most of all is out of ignorance. We also found out there is no deliberate programme of Anti- doping in any of the sports federations and most of the substances abused are bang, Miraa, alcohol and steroids,” Wekesa added.

Accompanying the report was a draft Anti-Doping legislation and a list of persons to be subjected to a disciplinary panel for their apparent involvement in doping on sportspersons.

The task force recommended to the Government; the need to enact the Anti-Doping legislation before 2016, set up an independent body with legal mandate financially facilitated to tackle the menace, embark on a sensitizing campaign and consider disciplinary action against those officials who systematically dope sports persons in rugby.

Wario said the draft copy will be available to public and will convene a meeting with all federations and agents, to tell them the Government’s position on doping before implementing the report into law.

“We will set up a national agency known as Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya which will deal with all matters of doping. We have set aside more than Sh5m for Anti-Doping activities and programmes.

“We need to recommend to the Government institutions to take serious action like cancellation of licenses to agents found guilty and we are going to work closely with the ministry of immigration to eliminate those agents who sneaks in as a tourist.”

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