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Harambee Stars promised Sh50mn for AFCON qualification

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Harambee Stars head coach Paul Put presents a signed jersey to Deputy President William Ruto during a breakfast meeting at the DP’s Karen Residence on December 19, 2017. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 19- Deputy President William Ruto has promised that the government will reward the national football team Harambee Stars with Sh50mn if they qualify for the 2019 African Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

Ruto made this promise on Tuesday morning as he hosted the team for breakfast at his Karen residence following their CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup triumph.

“The more difficult part is ahead of us. The AFCON is a year and abit ahead of us. We must qualify and we must win. We must make history and I am confident this is the team to make history. Let me commit, if you qualify as a team the government of Kenya will give the team Sh50mn to share. Sasa mtajipanga kutoka hapo. The ball is in your court. Ama namna gani?” The Deputy President posed.

Deputy President William Ruto poses for a photo with Harambee Stars players during a breakfast meeting at the DP’s Karen Residence on December 19, 2017. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Kenya started off their campaign on a poor footing losing to Sierra Leone in June but will have a chance to redeem themselves in the second round of group matches in September next year against Ghana.

Head coach Paul Put who was hired primarily to help the team qualify for the Cup of Nations says he is confident they will achieve the target.

“It is possible. Nothing cannot be achieved. We have started well and now we have the support that we need. The door is open that we can bring our plans. I now hope that we can do the job and make Kenyans happy,” Put told Capital Sport.

Meanwhile, the team continued to receive windfalls from their CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup triumph and each member of the technical bench might now walk home with Sh700,000 after the President directed a further Sh10mn to be awarded to the team from the Sports Ministry.

Deputy President William Ruto fist-bumps Harambee Stars captain Musa Mohammed during a breakfast meeting at the DP’s Karen Residence on December 19, 2017. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

The team is also scheduled to have a bus after skipper Musa Mohammed made the request in his short speech at the breakfast.

Hiyo mambo Captain umeongea nimeskia (I have heard the words the captain has said). In the next two weeks you should have a new bus for movement and everything,” the Deputy president said.

Ruto congratulated the team for their performance and added that it helped unite the nation.

Meanwhile, Ruto has promised that the Government will fast track the completion of eight new stadia by April next year. The county stadia which will be complete by then will be in Kamarin, Makueni, Marsabit, Meru, Chuka, Nyeri, Eldoret and the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi.

It will remain to be seen whether this promise will be fulfilled especially with Kenyan football fans still reeling from the stripping of hosting rights for next year’s African Nations Championship.

Deputy President William Ruto signs a ceremonial ball during a breakfast meeting with Harambee Stars at his Karen residence. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

“We made a commitment that we are going to add stadia to find it easier for more of our players to practice and improve on their prowess and to have facilities they can use to promote their sporting talents,” Ruto said.

He added; “Although it took time because of issues to do with agreements with county governments, by April next year, eight new stadia will be ready.”

He has also hinted that the government will work with the federation to see that more sponsors come on board to aid in achieving the dream to play in the 2019 AFCON as well as the 2022 World Cup.

Also top on the agenda is the establishment of youth centers and talent tapping hubs to nurture the talent.

“We have an elaborate plan to promote football from grassroots, we want our young ones to have an opportunity to develop talent at an early age to enable us qualify for the World Cup in future,” Ruto added.

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