•On April 20, FKF-PL teams were administered with the Covid-19 vaccines as the Ministry of Sports rushed to secure a safe return to sporting activities in line with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive.
•“Consequently, we wish to inform you that in accordance with the MoH and FKF Covid-19 protocols, all BetKing Premier League clubs must be tested for Covid-19 before the aforementioned planned league kick off date,” read the statement.
Local fans will be biting their nails a little bit longer as they anxiously await the resumption of the top-flight league after Football Kenya Federation rescheduled matches to create time for mandatory Covid-19 tests.
However, Mathare United head coach Salim Ali is keeping his chin up in the wake of the development, contending that lives are more important than matches. Ali has lauded FKF’s surprise move to push the fixtures forward by two days.
“They are definitely doing the right thing. Health is more important than matches and we will always support all efforts by government and the federation to put coronavirus in check,” said Ali.
Mathare are trailing precariously at the bottom of the log, on the edge of relegation, and Ali is tearing out his hair as he ponders over the fitness level of his charges ahead of their crucial encounter against high-riding AFC Leopards.
“In reality, no single player can claim to be entirely fit for the league's resumption after the long break. It's true we had individual training programs but they are usually not as effective as group training,” he observed.
In the initial fixtures released earlier in the month, the season had tentatively been set to resume on May 12 with an enticing encounter between Gor Mahia and Wazito at Moi Stadium, Kasarani. Leopards were to square it out with Mathare in the second match of the day at the same venue.
But things have taken a new direction. According to the revised fixtures released on Monday evening, the tie pitting Kariobangi Sharks against Kakamega Homeboyz at Moi Stadium, Kasarani on May 14, will now mark the resumption of the competition.
FKF-PL manager David Thiru wrote to the affected sides informing them of the latest development.
“We, therefore, wish to inform you that the league matches earlier scheduled to be played on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, have been postponed to a later date which shall be communicated,” read the letter.
His correspondence came hot on the heels of a statement released by FKF CEO Barry Otieno earlier in the day.
“Reference is made to the National Presidential Address made on May I, 2021, allowing for the resumption of sporting activities,” read FKF’s statement.
“In this regard and in consultations with the Ministry of Sports, we wish to inform you that FKF plans to kick off the BetKing Premier League on May 14, 2021, under strict observance of existing government Covid-19 protocols and the FKF/CAF Covid-19 competition protocols,” read the statement.
“Consequently, we wish to inform you that in accordance with the MoH and FKF Covid-19 protocols, all BetKing Premier League clubs must be tested for Covid-19 before the aforementioned planned league kick off date,” read the statement.
“In view of the above, we wish to inform you that FKF plans to roll out the Covid-19 testing exercise from Tuesday, May 11, 2021.
“Therefore, we kindly but urgently request your club to provide the federation with the below listed details, by tomorrow, May 11, 2021 at 8:00am to guide the testing process,” it read.
“Please not that any club that fails to provide the aforementioned information within the stipulated timeline will be required to cater for the costs of their Covid-19 tests,” concluded the statement.