NAIROBI, Kenya, November 12 – Football Kenya Federation (FKF) have been ordered to put their house in order for the country to stand a chance of successfully bidding to host the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture and Arts, Dr. Hassan Wario, made the call on Wednesday when the federation took the curious step of hosting newly crowned Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions Gor Mahia to a luncheon for the second year running although he did not specify any action should the notorious governing body default.
Wario directed the federation to bury their differences with league management firm KPL that have degenerated into a public farce in the past month, including the latest war front where FKF is fronting an 18-team competition as opposed to the current 16.
“We must aspire to take football to the next level because it’s one of the major pillars of our development in this country. We get there through the professionalising the league but Mr President; please sort the differences because we want to move forward and make the league grow.
“We need to listen to one another and iron out our differences. I have been told by various people let’s do something more in football so that we can bring in money. Give us the reason to hope that we will clean up our business and football will start attracting mega money as it does in other parts of the world,” Wario addressed federation boss, Sam Nyamweya.
Kenya has already presented her bid to host the 2017 continental showpiece after Libya withdrew with the minister welcoming the move but challenged FKF to focus on ensuring national team Harambee Stars regains its past glory.
“We need to focus on the team to find the solution because it’s not glamorous taking about other counters coming here yet we don’t know our chances. What has been ailing us? The opportunities we hold to turn around the team in the next two years,” the minister added.
Gor chairman Ambrose Rachier thanked the Green Army for making it possible for them to retain the trophy as he promised to win it for the third time in a row next season.
“No club has won the trophy 14 times so it’s very significant that we are the best in the country but we are not yet done, next we are going for it and make sure history repeats itself.
“We have offered our head coach Frank Nuttall a new one-year contract and I can say the deal is 80 percent sealed,” the club boss explained.
The Ministry of Sports awarded them Sh300, 000 while Nyamweya added Sh100, 000.
“Gor deserved to win it because it was a very difficult league, they were not sure if it’s them or Sofapaka. We expect a very exciting one next season,” Nyamweya who drummed up support for his KPL expansion move that has been met with resistance by KPL.
He was at a loss to explain why a similar reception for 2012 champions, Tusker, a corporate club that does not fit in his profile to endear himself to grassroots support by aligning himself with self-supporting community based sides was not held.
“Gor and AFC Leopards are big clubs and they deserve to be hosted,” Nyamweya charged in a damning let down of corporate or institution backed teams that boast of a meagre fan (votes) base.
The federation boss has done little to stamp out alleged favouritism in favour of community local giants in the KPL.