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Waliaula quits in another Stars scandal

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Harambee Stars players on arrival from Cape Verde. PHOTO/File

Harambee Stars players on arrival from Cape Verde. PHOTO/File

NAIROBI, December 3- The circus that is Harambee Stars and Football Kenya Federation (FKF) continued on Thursday when Team Manager, Willis Waliaula, resigned in a huff over poor working conditions.

The official was detained at an Addis Ababa hotel over unpaid bills incurred by the team that returned to the country in the small hours of Thursday after crashing out of the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup to Rwanda on Tuesday to end their defence of the regional crown.

This sparked off a round of accusations and counter-accusations with the federation claiming Waliaula had USD2500 (Sh 255,523.75) for contingencies but “nonetheless, FKF has paid the outstanding amount (USD1900/Sh194, 198.05). The issue of the unauthorised expenditure will be dealt when officials file report on the tour.”

“We wish to state all accommodation bills were cleared by Cecafa. However, our delegation incurred extra expenses (more players at the request of the coach and drinks),” a statement from FKF media read.

However, different accounts from the Ethiopian capital reported the outstanding bill was paid by Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Sports, Arts and Culture, Dr. Hassan Wario for the official to be allowed out of the hotel and travel back home.

Royal Media Services television reporter, Mike Okinyi, who is in Ethiopia then posted a copy of cash receipt that showed the money for extras was sent to FKF vice-president, Robert Asembo, not Waliaula as the statement alluded.

This was the latest saga that stunk out the ill-fated trip to defend the regional title that ended in a 5-3 defeat on post-match penalties to Rwanda with Stars winning only one of the four games they played.

The Addis camp was rocked by yet another allowances row that saw the team threaten to boycott the quarterfinal clash after securing their ticket by virtual of Rwanda beating Burundi 1-0 in their final Group B clash.

After a dream 2-0 victory over the arch enemy Uganda in the opener, Bobby Williamson’s side drew 1-1 with Burundi before suffering a disgraceful 3-1 defeat to minnows Zanzibar in their last group match to leave progression out of their hands.

It was then reported after that Friday crushing loss, some of the Stars players went to while the night away in merriment, inviting a public backlash at home that Williamson said in his post-match comments on Tuesday had deeply affected his boys.

 – Rankings boost-

The latest scandal came against the background of the news Kenya had broken into the top 100 in the Coca-Cola FIFA World Rankings for the first time since incumbent FKF president, Sam Nyamweya, took over on October 28, 2011.

Stars shot up 27 places to 98th in the world with Ivory Coast taking over from Algeria as the top ranked side in the continent, courtesy of their first-leg stunning victory over Cape Verde in the second round of the 2018 World Cup pre-qualifiers in Nairobi.

Shambolic preparations and that nightmare 22-hour journey to Praia that followed that gritty victory four days later saw Cape Verde romp to a 2-0 victory to knock-our Stars igniting severe criticism of Nyamweya and the federation.

Together with three high ranking Ministry officials, the FKF boss who is seeking re-election against five challengers was quizzed by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations over the handling of the trip and the stated figure of the Sh17m given to the federation for the trip and allowances.

Belgium will end the year as the top football side in the world with Argentina, Spain, world champions Germany and Chile rounding the five best nations.

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