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FKF blasts Mariga, seeks to gag players

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NAIROBI, Kenya, March 1- Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has blasted AC Parma midfielder, McDonald Mariga for quitting the team over a travel expenses refund row.

In a statement released on Thursday, FKF boss, Sam Nyamweya, said, “We feel it was wrong and unacceptable for Mariga to walk out on the national team given the importance of the Togo game.”

The federation who met to deliberate on the matter that saw the Parma midfielder boycott the team on the eve of their 2013 Africa Nations Cup qualifier against Togo ruled not to ban the player for his actions.

“Mariga is free to play for the national team in future if the national team coach needs his services. This matter should now be let to rest as Kenya is bigger than all of us,” Nyamweya added.

In their account, FKF exonerated themselves from blame over the affair while accusing the former Inter Milan player of placing difficult demands.

“As indicated earlier, FKF was not aware of Mariga’s demands given FKF has only handled two games in which Mariga has not played. When Kenya played Seychelles, he was quite aware he had an injury but still decided to travel to the country.

“Does he expect the federation to pay for this ticket? Then on the Togo game, he arrived, he never trained, he never played then he walked out. Can we also pay for this?” Nyamweya stormed.

According to the federation chief, Mariga was informed that his claims for a Sh1.5m ($17,687) reimbursement were being looked into but instead, the player went to the media before a solution could be reached.

Consequently, FKF is working on a national team players code of conduct that will seek to bar players and the technical bench from airing their complaints in the media instead of channelling them through ‘laid down channels of communication’.

Mariga’s strike clouded Stars narrow 2-1 victory over Togo with supporters divided on their take on which side to support.

Sections of the fans vocally called on Nyamweya to pay back Mariga his dues with others accusing the player of lack of patriotism.

The FKF boss left Nyayo National Stadium under a heavy cordon of his supporters after the game.

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