NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 12 – Deputy President William Ruto on Friday reiterated the government’s promise of rewarding national football team Harambee Stars with Sh50mn should they qualify for next year’s African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cameroon.
The Deputy President made the promise to the team last year after winning the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup and on Friday when he visited the team at their training session at the Kasarani Stadium reiterated that the promise still stands.
“You all remember the promise we made last year?” Ruto quizzed the team at the Kasarani Stadium. “The promise still remains and we will make sure that happens,” he added.
“So please work hard and achieve the goal and leave the rest to us. So my friend (speaking to skipper Victor Wanyama) even if it means leaving your leg here, please do,” Ruto joked.
He also announced that the promise to give the team its own bus still remains and made a further promise that the same will be availed next month.
“You have our prayers, support and good will. Please make us proud on Sunday,” he added.
“We thank you (DP Ruto) for coming in here today and I know you have been told of the small problems we had. We are sure that you will help sort them out and for us on the pitch, we will do our job,” skipper Wanyama said.
His sentiments were shared by head coach Sebastien Migne who has also been promised that his outstanding salary arrears will be cleared having given the Federation an ultimatum up to Monday to ensure that his dues are taken care of.
“I hope, it will be paid, but for me, the most important thing is the game on Sunday. That is why I came here and I believe we can do something special and write a new page of history for Kenyan football,” the tactician said.
He added; “I have told him (DP Ruto) that for us to go far, we have to get the support from him and the government. We are on the way to the high level and we cannot do it without them.”
The DP also ‘gifted’ the team with Sh1mn for motivation ahead of Sunday’s game.
Meanwhile, Ruto also said that the remainder of the Sh25mn budget presented by the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) for the double header against Ethiopia as well as arrears from the previous game against Ghana, has already been availed.
Meanwhile, the country’s second in command has said moving forward, the Sports Fund will be fully operational to ensure that sports federations are well catered for and do not always have to sprawl their begging balls asking for help.
“For a very long time we haven’t had a clear funding mechanism for sports but I want to tell you the good news; the government has committed a special fund to ensure all sportsmen and women have requisite infrastructure and financial support,” he said.
The DP added; “In the next month or so the new fund will kick in and we expect to raise resources every year directly going to sports and you will be beneficiaries of that endeavor.”
Stars were faced with a financial hiccup before travelling to Ethiopia and had to wait until the eve of their journey to get Sh7.2mn from the government. Previously from a submitted budget of Sh25mn, the Federation had only managed to get Sh4mn.
The deficit of about Sh14mn has been sent to the federation to ensure the debts accrued from the Ghana match have been settled and facilitation for this weekend’s tie against Ethiopia is also taken care of.