The ultimate aim is undoubtedly to qualify for next year’s African Cup of Nations in Cameroon but Harambee Stars have more reasons to beat Ethiopia tomorrow and keep that dream alive after Deputy President William Ruto pledged to honour his promise of Sh50 million should they qualify for Afcon.
Ruto visited them shortly after their training session yesterday and announced that the government, through the Ministry of Sports, had debited Sh25m to the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) account to clear all pending arrears.
Ruto affirmed that his office was keen to deliver the promises made last year after Stars won the Cecafa Senior Challenge in December among them a national team bus.
“We have released Sh25 million to cater for all your pending arrears. I will also deliver the bus I promised early next month and I will keep the promise I made if you qualify to the Afcon,” said the DP.
FKF have openly admitted their financial struggles in paying the players allowances and catering for air tickets for foreign-based players, leaving them to beg for government support which skipper Victor Wanyama noted comes late than expected.
“It has always been our wish to have the government release the funds on time so that we the players can solely focus on preparing for the match.Having our issues sorted is a big morale booster to us ahead of the Ethiopia match and we hope we will give a good account of ourselves. We also thank the government for waving the gate charges to allow fans to come and support us. We played Ethiopia before their fans and managed to get a point and the gesture by the state is an advantage to us,” he said.
Head Coach Sebastien Migne also welcomed the financial boost and made a call to the fans to turn in large numbers and support the team.
“Qualifying to the Afcon without the government’s goodwill is not an easy task and I thank them for coming on board,” the coach said.