NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 16 – Sofapaka FC president Elly Kalekwa has said he does not harbor hard feelings with the Football Kenya Federation nor Nick Mwendwa after the Sports Disputes Tribunal overturned the federation’s decision to demote them on club licensing reasons.
Kalekwa had been angered by the decision to demote them after the FKF licensing committee ruled they had failed in the mandatory financial category, but he now says he has put everything behind while explaining his delight at winning the case at the tribunal.
“Football is not about building enmity; it is supposed to bring people together. We respect our president because we elected him to office to lead our game and we have to give him the necessary support,” Kalekwa said.
“We have brushed shoulders a bit because everyone was fighting for their right. But that is now gone and we are ready to work with the federation. I have no hard feelings after all this. In football, there are rules that govern and we are ready to follow all the rules,” the Congolese business man noted.
In its ruling on Wednesday evening, the tribunal said the FKF licensing rule book was defective and thus by sporting merit, both Sofapaka and Muhoroni would be back into the top tier.
“We always knew that we were on the right. We were calm and I kept telling my players to train hard because we would be in the KPL. It is a great day for us,” Kalekwa who was ushered into the Sofapaka training ground on Thursday morning by the players with jubilation noted.
The Batoto ba Mungu supremo added that the club was not against the implementation of the licensing rules but urged the federation to implement them gradually.
“We are not against club licensing. As clubs infact it is very helpful to us. But it is a process and all clubs must be given ample time to implement and be compliant,”
“The federation is like our parent and we must work together no matter what. The neck cannot go past the head and we will continue respecting the federation, but they must guide us and direct us to achieve success,” Kalekwa added.
According to the licensing committee, Sofapaka were short in the financial criteria where theyfailed to provide guarantees of a whole year’s flow of money to the team while they were also accused of failing to pay their ex players.
However, Kalekwa has affirmed to Capital Sport that the club is standing on a solid financial base while also adding plans are in top gear to land a sponsor soon.
“Last season it’s true we had some problems especially after our sponsor withdrew. But I am back with the team and I can assure that we will finance the team very well. All the arrears for past and current players have been paid. Right now, there’s no one complaining of salaries and I assure throughout the season, no one will,” he affirmed.
The club opens its 2017 campaign on Sunday against Sony Sugar at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru.