Football Football

Gor threaten to pull out of Cecafa Cup

Gor's Abouba Sibomana (left) shields the ball during K'Ogalo's friendly with Harambee Stars last week. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya
Gor’s Abouba Sibomana (left) shields the ball during K’Ogalo’s friendly with Harambee Stars last week. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, July 8- Gor Mahia’s participation at this year’s Cecafa Club Championships (Kagame Cup) is in doubt after the club announced they cannot secure air tickets to Tanzania.

This is after Football Kenya Federation (FKF) informed the domestic champions they could not afford to pay for their tickets to the annual tournament.

Gor chairman, Ambrose Rachier, told Capital Sport they have no option but to pull out from the regional tourney that runs from July 18 to August 2 if they fail to raise ticket money.

“The federation had agreed to pay air tickets for us to travel on Thursday but they have told us they don’t have money. It’s impossible for us to travel since had they told us earlier, we would have conducted a fundraising,” Rachier added.

“We have already informed (Nicholas) Musonye that we might not honour the tournament. He told us in our meeting, Cecafa would pay for everything, including food and accommodation but the federations were to cater for the air tickets,” he added.

Cecafa general secretary, Nicholas Musonye, informed Capital Sport member federations had agreed to share responsibility towards ensuring their representatives take part in the competition.

It is they he proclaimed, who agreed to pay for air travel for teams taking part with the regional governing body taking charge of other expenses.

“We have already done our part. We are almost done. The federation should also do their part. Gor Mahia and FKF should agree to disagree to come to find a solution,” Musonye stated.

FKF appeared to conflict with that assertion saying on their part, the agreement to pay for air tickets was in relation to the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup that pools national teams as opposed to Kagame Cup.

“When the presidents met three months ago, they agreed each member country would take care of their own travel expenses to reduce the budget of organising the Cecafa Senior Challenge.

“Air tickets take a large part of that budget. It was not agreed the club championships were part of it,” an official of the national federation offered promising a statement from president, Sam Nyamweya on the matter.

Speaking to Capital Sport, federation president, Sam Nyamweya, staunchly denied there was any agreement at their Cecafa meeting to cater for the air travel of respective teams.

“Let Rachier produce any documents committing FKF to paying for tickets arising from the meeting. I can categorically state there was not such an agreement for clubs, only national team in the Senior Challenge Cup.

“As far as we are concerned, it is the responsibility of clubs to make their own arrangements to play at their events, not the federation. They approached us and we told them we had no money for their tickets,” Nyamweya declared.

“We hereby wish to inform your office that our club intend to travel to Tanzania on Thursday 16, 2015 with a contingent of 30 people for the opening match of the above-mentioned tournament against Young Africans FC (Yanga) on Saturday 18, 2015 at the National Stadium.

“The list will come your way as soon as your office is ready to issues the tickets,” Gor wrote to the federation in a letter published on FKF’s website.

“We acknowledge receiving your letter dated 6th July 2015 and taken note of the contents therein. Football Kenya Federation is regrettably not in a position to grant your request for air tickets. We however wish your Club well in the CECAFA Club Championship 2015 Edition,” FKF chief executive, Michael Esakwa responded.

Gor are pooled with Tanzanian titans Yanga FC, Al Khartoum (Sudan), Telcom (Somalia) and KMKM (Zanzibar) in Pool A where K’Ogalo are scheduled to open the tournament against the hosts on match day 1.

Should the five-time Cecafa club champions and regional giants pull out of the tourney, it will represent another new low for Kenyan football that is reeling from the early exit of national team Harambee Stars from the 2016 CHAN qualifiers at the hands of Ethiopia last weekend.

For now, it’s a race against time for K’Ogalo, who were bundled out of the first round last year after losing three and drawing one of their pool fixtures, to take their place at the high table of regional football.