NAIROBI, Kenya, May 11 – Harambee Stars players and technical management stand to earn Sh1 million each if they qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the Africa Cup of Nations courtesy of East African Breweries Limited (EABL).The Sh23 million scheme was unveiled to the players at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani with guest of honour Prime Minister Raila Odinga receiving the cash on behalf of the team.
“Football is very close to the hearts of the Kenyan people, it is the people’s game and it reflects the African spirit better than any other sport,” said Raila.
“We should not criticize the team just because they lost their first game to Tunisia. Football is about winning and losing and with this incentive I am confident that this team will qualify for the world cup in South Africa,” he added.
“Our options are very open and the team can still qualify for the world cup finals South Africa but the team must play not only to entertain but also to register scores” said the Premier.
Raila added that corporate organizations were willing to promote the sport in the country only when the national team started posting positive results in the international football circles.
EABL group managing director Gerald Mahinda said the scheme was motivation for the players to perform at their top level in their pursuit to qualify for both tournaments.
“At EABL we are committed to supporting our consumers and their passions. Football is a real passion in Kenya and this incentive we are extending to the Harambee Stars is aimed at motivating them to qualify for both the Africa Cup of nations and the World Cup finals,” said Mahinda.
Each player will receive Sh100,000 for each victory in their remaining five matches, Sh200,000 reaching the Cup of Nations Sh300,000 if they get to the world cup.
EABL also gave Sh500,000 towards the preparation for the Nigerian match.
Stars lost their first qualifier to Tunisia 2-1 back in March despite dominating ball possession and creating most of the chances.
Next up for Antoine Hey’s side is Nigeria on June 7 in Abuja followed by Mozambique two weeks later in Nairobi.
The return leg against Mozambique will be held in Maputo on September 5 followed by Tunisia on October 10 and finally the Super Eagles on November 14.
The top three teams from each group will qualify for the Cup of nations whilst only the top team will qualify for the 2010 World Cup.