NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 6 – The Football Kenya Federation (FKF) says it has presented a Sh200mn (2mn USD) budget to the Ministry of Sports for next year’s African Cup of Nations (AFCON) after Kenya’s qualification was confirmed following Sierra Leone’s expulsion from the qualifiers.
FKF boss Nick Mwendwa says they have put in an elaborate plan to prepare the team for a return to continental football for the first time in 15 years and noted the figure might reduce or increase depending on where the Cup of Nations will be held.
“We have a game away to Ghana; now we are treating that game as part of the preparations for AFCON. Then we will play a friendly game in Kenya, then we will play against three teams as further build up. If it will be in Europe, the costs will be a bit high. On top of that, we are budgeting for one month away in the Cup of Nations,” Mwendwa explained on Thursday.
Initially, the Federation had planned to have the team camp in France for three weeks with the Cup of Nations still in Cameroon, but with a change in hosts, that might change.
Part of the plan was to play three build up matches in France and on top of it travel to London to play against Jamaica.
“Now with Cameroon being stripped of the rights, we will wait and see who gets it because CAF has opened a one-month bidding window. If it’s in South Africa, then we will have to change our plans because we can’t prepare all the way in France and come down to play in South Africa,” Mwendwa noted.
He added; “So depending on where the tournament will be, the budget might go up or come down. But we have already presented our budget to the ministry and we will wait to see.”
Mwendwa also noted that with the Sports Fund set to be operationalized in the next few weeks, the budget of footing that budget will come down even as he admitted they are yet to pay Harambee Starlets for the three weeks they spent in camp before their Cup of Nations dream was cut short.
At the same time, the Federation chief has said they will plan a friendly match in Nairobi against a high profile team after playing the last qualification match against Ghana in March as a way of thanking fans for their support and ‘sending the team off’ to AFCON.
The team is scheduled to get into camp midway through may after the conclusion of the 2018/2019 season and get into high gear of preparations
Meanwhile, Mwendwa has said the Sh50mn promise made by Deputy President William Ruto for the team’s qualification to the Cup of Nations will be divided between the federation and the team.
According to the preliminary plan, the team will get 70pc (Sh35mn) while the Federation will get 30pc (Sh15mn) which will aid in offsetting bills incurred during the qualification process.
“We are trying to see what is the best way to go about it, but we will always talk to the players and find out what works best for them,” Mwendwa added.
Stars are now only waiting for an official communication from CAF confirming their place in the Cup of Nations, but are now primarily depending on the qualification rules passed last year.
At the same time, Mwendwa has said they will still pursue the case at the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) involving Harambee Starlets’ exclusion from the Cup of Nations.
“We are still pursuing it at CAS. We are trying to gather our documentations proper. We are going in full; we are going to ask for reprieve for those actions. This is just not about money but about justice. This was justice denied to Kenya at a critical point when CAF really bungled with the actions they were having. We will not relent until CAS makes a decision on this matter,” Mwendwa said.
Starlets had gone into camp and trained for three weeks after CAF’s disciplinary board threw Equatorial Guinea out of the tournament after fielding an ineligible player in their qualifier against Kenya, only for the Appeals committee to overturn that decision.
This happened barely a week to the Cup of Nations and FKF want the continental football body to reimburse the expenses they incurred during the team’s time in camp.