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Kenya pulls out of hosting CECAFA due to financial constraints 

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Football Kenya Federation President Nick Mwendwa (left) with CECAFA Secretary General Nick Musonye (right). Photo/ RAYMOND MAKHAYA

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 28 – Kenya has pulled out of hosting the 2018 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup that was scheduled for December, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) boss Nick Mwendwa announced on Tuesday.

CECAFA had agreed to hand the hosting rights to Kenya after it successfully staged the tournament last year across three venues, but Mwendwa on Tuesday disclosed that the federation will find it tough funding it due to tough financial strains.

“We have decided to cut down on the events that we are doing. We are not going to host CECAFA Senior Challenge this year. We have asked CECAFA to relieve us of that opportunity so that this year we don’t have to do any major even because obviously of how our finances are,” Mwendwa said in a press briefing at the federation headquarters.

He disclosed that the Federation is struggling to pay up debts accrued from the previous regime and at the same time battling with up to 12 cases in court.

Also on the Federation’s neck is an accumulated bill of almost 156mn shillings, two being claims of former coaches while one is a claim from the tax man over failure to remit PAYE (Pay As You Earn) for its employees.

“Our case against Adel Amrouche is at CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sports) after we appealed when a one man bench at FIFA awarded him 600,000 Dollars (Sh60mn) earlier in the year. We will fight the appeal and see how it goes,” Mwendwa said.

“Bobby Williamson has also gone to the labor court and his claim is Sh55mn. KRA (Kenya Revenue Authority) are on our case and he claim is that between 2012 and 2015 FKF did not remit PAYE for its employees which accumulated to Sh24mn which with penalties became Sh41mn. We have been trying to negotiate and see what we can do,” Mwendwa disclosed.

-Training coaches, Youth development-

Mwendwa remains confident that Kenya can give its shot and be one of the two qualifiers to next year’s showpiece. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

He now says because of all the legal battles they are facing and paying off previous creditors, they have been forced to prioritize and their areas of concern will be on training of coaches, youth development, leagues and national teams.

“Those are our priorities and we will stick with them. We will try keep the ship as lean as possible to make savings and keep afloat, the challenges are many but we are hopping that when the sports fund is available we can attack them through those means. We are also talking to government to see whether they can be of help anywhere,” Mwendwa disclosed.

This year, FKF’s biggest budgetary allocation will be around the Harambee Stars as they play Ghana next month, a venture that is said to be costing in the region of Sh16mn, home and away ties to Ethiopia, a home tie against Sierra Leone and an away trip to Ghana in the 2019 African Cup of Nations Qualifiers.

Mwendwa remains confident that Kenya can give its shot and be one of the two qualifiers to next year’s showpiece.

-AWCON hosting rights-

“I will not blame the government because I think they have been very helpful to us but we are talking with them. I had conversations with the minister because I went there to get guarantees when we were presenting documents to CAF and he has promised to do something,” Mwendwa added. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

Meanwhile, Mwendwa has admitted that the Federation had approached CAF to ask for hosting rights for November’s African Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON), but the continental body rejected the same due to facilities.

At the moment, only Kasarani Stadium can host any international match with Nyayo closed while Machakos, Bukhungu and Afraha are yet to tick the right boxes to host a continental event.

“We all know that it is only Kasarani which fits the bill but I was hoping that probably Machakos would, but there are a few aspects that let us down there. The reason we asked to host this was because a third team gets the chance to play at the World Cup next year and I was hoping our Starlets can get that chance,” Mwendwa said.

He also hinted that the federation has been frustrated with the lack of facilities, especially with those earmarked for CHAN yet to be completed. Nyayo has been closed down since last September and works have slowed down due to budgetary issues.

“I will not blame the government because I think they have been very helpful to us but we are talking with them. I had conversations with the minister because I went there to get guarantees when we were presenting documents to CAF and he has promised to do something,” Mwendwa added.

Meanwhile, CAF will make a decision next month on whether or not to strip Ghana of the hosting rights for the Cup of Nations with the West African country still in a leadership vacuum after the resignation of top officials over a corruption expose early this year.

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