NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 3 – Harambee Stars face a tough phase before their crucial back-to-back 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers against Ethiopia’s Walya Antelopes with the Football Kenya Federation grappling with financial crisis.
By close of business on Wednesday evening, the Federation was yet to secure funds from the Sports Ministry to purchase flight tickets for the 14 foreign based players called in by head coach Sebastien Migne for the clash.
This is on top of the fact that Migne himself has only been paid for two months since he took charge of the job and has gone for the remaining two without a penny of his salary.
“We are yet to secure money from the government and as we speak the president (Nick Mwendwa is meeting with the PS (Kirimi Kaberia) to try and secure these funds. It is a bit alarming because we should be travelling to Ethiopia by latest Monday and today is Wednesday,” FKF Chief Executive Officer Robert Muthomi told Capital Sport.
He went on to explain that the federation has been seeking to get funds from the government, with a budget of Sh25mn said to be the amount needed for the two games against Ethiopia as well as settle bills from the Ghana match.
“We haven’t paid the travel agent for the tickets we took for the first game against Ghana. Together with the Ethiopia game, we have a budget of almost 25 million shillings. The financial situation at the federation is not good and with this being a national team, we expect the government to take charge,” added Muthomi.
There is also worry that head coach Migne might be uncomfortable with the situation over his salary with sources claiming the coach is unhappy.
“He has his family here and definitely, he wants to be paid for his job. He hasn’t received his salary for two months and after the Ethiopia home game, we don’t know what might happen or what action he will take,” a source close to the Federation insinuated.
Kenya faces a date with destiny in the two matches against Ethiopia as even four points from the available six will inch them closer to an AFCON appearance for the first time in 14 years.
Kenya, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and Ghana are all on three points with Ghana leading the group and Kenya second based on goal difference. While Kenya plays Ethiopia, Ghana will be tackling on Sierra Leone and this round of matches will give the group direction.
Head coach Migne had already anticipated to have the local group of players in camp by at least Thursday evening, but the same might be tricky both because of financial problems as well as the period not falling within the FIFA window.
“The idea was to have players coming in for training then go back to their clubs without residential camp. But this is difficult in two ways; some clubs have very important matches this weekend and will not be comfortable in releasing their players,”
“Also, it will not be wise to make camp bookings only to have three or four players turn up. So we will just have to wait till Sunday evening when all players are available, then possibly they can spend together before flying to Ethiopia,” Muthomi explained.
The foreign based players are expected to link up with the team directly in Ethiopia for the first leg tie which will be staged on October 10 in Bahir Dar while the return tie is the following Sunday in Nairobi.
Meanwhile, the team has received a massive boost with the return to fitness of attacking midfielder Eric Johannah.
The former Mathare United man picked up an ankle injury two weeks ago, but made a competitive comeback on Tuesday featuring for his Swedish club IF Bromma’s Under-21 team as they lost 4-3 to Hammarby.
Central midfielder Johannah Omollo who tuirns out for Belgian side Cercle Brugge is also back fit though he missed out his side’s 4-0 derby loss at the hands of Club Brugge last weekend.