NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 19- “For those of you who read the newspaper, you have heard that this place is called ‘the hustler’s mansion’. You are very much welcome here, tukule breakfast kidogo halafu bas.”
Those were the welcoming words of Deputy President William Ruto when he welcomes national football team Harambee Stars to his official residence in the outskirts of Nairobi town Tuesday morning.
The country’s second in command has seemingly found some love with the Harambee Stars, inviting them over for breakfast at his residence just less than two days after watching them lift the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in a nervy penalty shoot-out on Sunday.
Despite the chilly morning weather, the atmosphere in the reception area was warm, and became warmer when the Deputy called up captain Musa Mohammed, fist-bumping him before handing over the Sh5mn promise in cash.
“Tukiwa Machakos niliwaambia ntawapatia barua kidogo, nilimwambia Yule captain. Sindio boss? (When we were in Machakos I told you I would give you something small. Isn’t it so, Captain?). I congratulate you, I congratulate our keeper Matasi (Patrick) he did us proud,” the Deputy President said.
The players were elated with the meeting and more so being appreciated in kind by the country’s top leadership.
“For a long time, players were not being appreciated and this is really something great for us. We are very happy and this is a challenge for us to keep working hard. The support is very important and now, the focus is on AFCON,” skipper Mohammed said.
When he stood up to speak, Mohammed made a request that the government avails a team bus and with no hesitation, the DP promised that in two weeks it will be sourced.
FKF boss Nick Mwendwa however said the bus will be sourced from Germany and it should be in the country in two months time.
“It will be a comfortable bus with all necessary gadgets and facilities and finally our players will now be treated with a bit more dignity,” Mwendwa said.
Ruto also narrated how the government was almost giving up on football, but says the re-birth of the game which started with the CECAFA win will spur them into more support, including sourcing for sponsors.
“We were almost giving up with this football but now things are looking up. So tafadhali msitulet down. This time round we must go to Cameroon. If you qualify, I will come along,” the DP said.