NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 17 – Gor Mahia head coach Steve Polack wants the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) managers and Football Kenya Federation to quickly agree on the way forward for the 2019/20 season so that clubs can know how to plan.
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) boss Nick Mwendwa announced the ending of all football seasons across the country due to the COVID-19 situation but KPL went to the Sports Disputes Tribunal to reverse the decision, with the John Ohaga led arbitration board staying orders that suspended the season.
The Tribunal is set to rule on whether to continue with the case or not on June 30 after weighing up preliminary objections raised by FKF counsel as well as eight other KPL clubs.
“Let them sort it out. If they say we play again, then we play. I am confident in my players and if they say tomorrow we will be back then we will be ready. But they need to look at the big picture before they can make a big decision like that,” the tactician stated.
He added; “The new season is supposed to start in August. We have to wait till the President makes an announcement on the measures and then we need to train for like four or five weeks and that means the season cannot finish till around October. The rules I have read, there has to be 60 days between the last day of the season and the first game of the new season. They need to take a good look at that and then make a decision.”
In ending the season, the Federation relied on the Force Majeure clause in its football rules that gives the Federation liberty to declare a final league standing according to either 75pc of the matches played or by the standings as at mid-season.
With this, Gor were declared champions and their names submitted for next season’s CAF Champions League. But with KPL’s objection, the final decision will wait on word from the Tribunal.
But, Polack is pessimistic that Kenya can satisfy all safety parameters to ensure football returns within a healthy atmosphere especially with all protocols required for a safe return.
“In Africa, it is very hard to get a club that can satisfy all those requirements including tests on players and officials. If we are struggling to pay salaries, can we afford to do all the tests, disinfect the training ground and pitches, equipment, etc?” quipped the tactician.
Polack has been locked up in the country since the league went on break with the closure of inbound and outbound flights meaning he has to remain in the country.
He had planned to travel back to his England home to be with his family once the season was supposed to end on May 28.
“I have not seen my family since December and every time my son and daughter are asking me when I am going to be home. Of course we have to wait and hopefully this thing will end soon,” he states.
Adding; “It’s a sad thing but health is the most important thing now.”
Meanwhile, even as he waits for the situation to get back to normal, the tactician says he has already drawn out plans in anticipation for the new season and already has pictured the kind of players he wants.
Top on his priority however is trying to ensure the club retains most of its players especially those who have their contracts running.
But, he knows it will be a challenge due to their financial status.