NAIROBI, Kenya, November 10- President Mwai Kibaki lent his support to the newly elected Football Kenya Association (FKA) office on Thursday as he challenged them to get down to the business of cleaning the country’s game.
Speaking at a State ceremony to reward medallists from World Championships, All Africa Games and Commonwealth Youth Games, the Head of State also hailed the October 29 unified polls that saw Sam Nyamweya voted in as the head of the federation.
“I wish to commend the football fraternity for holding successful elections for national office holders. I wish the new team great success and promise them my government’s full support,” President Kibaki remarked.
He added: “Let us now get down to the business of moving Kenyan football to the next level of success.”
The President spoke on the day the country’s national football side left for Seychelles to play the hosts in their first leg pre-qualifier for the 2014 World Cup on Friday.
Head coach Francis Kimanzi who was brought in by the Nyamweya administration to head the technical bench last week travelled with a squad of 20 players.
Dependable Real Sociedad midfielder, MacDonald Mariga is the notable absentee in the squad after fracturing his finger in a La Liga match over the weekend.
“We are ready. The team has looked sharp, focused and we have worked very hard. It should be a very good match on our side and I’m not worried we are playing away. We have a lot of confidence on our own training,” Kimanzi said before departure.
He added: “The game is changing everyday and the players’ character in this team has also changed. This is a talented group with the potential and more importantly, you can see they want to do it.”
Kimanzi who led Kenya to the final qualifiers of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa before being shunted from the post in February 2009 is keen to reverse the fortunes of the side.
“Kenya does not deserve to be playing in the pre-qualifiers and here we are. This has been the result of not planning and this must change.”
The second leg will be played in Nairobi on Tuesday where the winner will join the Brazil 2014 Africa qualifiers group featuring Nigeria, Malawi and either Djibouti or Namibia who will slug it out in another pre-qualifier.
Endorsement of the new football office by the Head of State will be read as a strong signal that the legitimacy of Nyamweya, who before his election led one of the parallel governing bodies Kenya Football Federation (KFF), is sealed.
Kenya has suffered a decade of decline following football feuds between KFF and the rival Football Kenya Limited (FKL) led by Mohammed Hatimy who was defeated in the unified polls.