NAIROBI, Kenya, February 23 – Kenyan Premier League (KPL) players have given feuding FKF and administrators of their competition a one week ultimatum to iron out their differences failure to which they will mobilize a countrywide mass demonstration.
Speaking Monday at Nairobi City Stadium, the players led by Bandari FC custodian, Wilson Obungu, with representatives from all 14 KPL clubs decried the ongoing crisis was threatening their livelihoods.
“It’s with a lot of regret and frustrations that we have come out as Kenyan football players following unending wrangles by authorities who are custodians of the beautiful game.
“They keep on taking us for a ride now and again so we have given the warring factions a week to sort out their issues and come up with solution,” Obungu said in a written statement.
“Failure to which we will hold a mass demonstration involving all players countrywide together with our fans to bar them from holding any public office now and in future.
“We urge all footballers and fans to unite and support us in this cause of trying to salvage our football in Kenya,” he added following a week where with support of their foreign based colleagues such as Harambee Stars captain, Victor Wanyama and fellow keeper, Arnold Origi, they turned to social media enmasse to register their protest.
The players through their adopted slogan- as a Kenyan footballer, I’m not happy- blamed both FKF and KPL for the impasse that has brought parallel premier leagues, court cases and confusion to the country’s football.
“They should try hard to come up with the solution. We are unhappy with what is happening since we don’t know where we will be tomorrow because if sponsors pull out, we will be jobless and you know what follows next.
“We are the main stakeholders in this game and they must listen to us because if they don’t we will stop playing in their leagues and who see who they will manage. They need to sit down and sort out the mess speedily and stop putting the players life at ransom.
“We are not advocating for (a Fifa) ban but if it’s going to make everything go the correct way so be it,” Obungu added.
They threatened to form a parallel Kenya Football Welfare Association (KEFWA) saying the current office chaired by former international, Nicholas Muyoti has failed to champion their rights.
“We don’t have a strong players association. Players have no confidence with KEFWA because they have done nothing as far as our welfare is concerned.We are thinking of forming our own that will fight for rights of Kenyan players from the top to lower leagues.
“There are clubs that have not paid players yet they have valid contracts and we want a strong union,” the Harambee Stars custodian explained.
“When the federation had their AGM we didn’t have player’s representative so it’s very difficult to know if they care and value us. Both KPL and FKF are not taking players issue seriously.”
Other players who were present include, Gor Mahia trio of captain Jerim Onyango, Jerry Santos and Innocent Mutiso, Tusker FC’s James Situma, AFC Leopards duo keeper Wycliffe Kasaya, Joseph Shikokoti, Bandari’s Anthony Kimani, KCB pair of Paul Kiongera and Joshua Oyoo among others.
Already the two parallel Premier Leagues are running at the same time as the country waits to see how long the situation will continue despite violation of FIFA rules when the federation went to court in a bid to stop last weekend’s start of the KPL in an injunction that failed to hold sway as the first round of fixtures got underway.
The FKF Premier League that has 18 teams, 14 promoted from the second tier when teams allied to the KPL declined to register with the federation is expected to continue midweek.
KPL are bidding their time on which two teams will fill the remaining two slots of their 16-team format with Nairobi City Stars and Top Fry Nakuru who were relegated last term on standby for a return if they cannot agree with the federation on promoted teams form last year’s National Super League.