•Whereas Harambee Starlets were disqualified from the Africa Women's Cup of Nations in February, the axe fell on the men's national team on Tuesday this week after the continental football governing body, Caf, excluded them from Group C of Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
•Amid all the whirlwind of confusion, AFC Leopards honcho Dan Shikanda has called on Kenyans to exercise a great deal of patience as Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed seeks a lasting solution to the woes bedeviling the local football scene.
Kenya, once East Africa's football powerhouse, is now battling for survival as a prolonged stalemate pitting the government against the world football governing body, Fifa, spirals out of control.
The devastating tempest with far-reaching consequences threatens to capsize the country's plain sailing ship that once navigated the international seas with pride.
Kenya has been enumerating losses ever since Sports Cabinet Secretary, Amina Mohamed, made a contentious decision on November 11 to disband the duly elected Nick Mwendwa-led Football Kenya Federation and constitute a caretaker committee to run football in the country.
The move attracted the full wrath of Fifa who immediately swung into action to impose sanctions.
So far two national teams — Harambee Stars and Harambee Starlets — have been caught up in the middle of the raging storm after both were locked out of major continental competitions.
Whereas Harambee Starlets were disqualified from the Africa Women's Cup of Nations in February, the axe fell on the men's national team on Tuesday this week after the continental football governing body, Caf, excluded them from Group C of Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Caf had included Harambee Stars in the official draw earlier in April 2022 on the condition that Fifa's suspension must be lifted two weeks before their first matchday. The qualifiers kick off in early June.
Kenya and Zimbabwe were slapped with sanctions for political interference. The two countries failed to meet the conditions set by a Fifa delegates congress in Doha Qatar in March as a prerequisite for lifting their suspension.
“As a consequence of having failed to have their suspensions by Fifa set aside, Caf has confirmed that both Kenya and Zimbabwe will not participate in the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations Cote d’Ivoire 2023 qualifiers,” read Caf's statement.
Kenya had initially set the stage for a fresh round of confrontation with Fifa a week ago after Sports CS gazetted an 18-member team to run football in the country for a period of five weeks instead of moving to reinstate the expelled federation as spelt out by Fifa.
In a gazette notice, Amina said she had constituted a transition committee to take the reins from the Caretaker Committee.
“In exercise of the powers conferred by section 54 (1) of the Sports Act 2013, the Cabinet Secretary for Sports appoints the Football Kenya Federation Transition Committee....,” read the Notice.
“The mandate of the Transition Committee will be to conduct the affairs of Football Kenya Federation in accordance with the Constitution of Football Kenya Federation.”
“Co-ordinate and ensure the smooth running of Football Kenya Federation operations, including team preparations for local and international sporting events.”
Amina emphasized the urgent need to have the committee in place to streamline the FKF Constitution as she works round the clock to clean up the mess in Kenyan football before she can ultimately contemplate a meeting with Fifa.
The 12-member Transition Committee is being headed by retired Judge Aaron Ringera with Maurice Oyugi as his deputy.
Other members are Ali Amour, Bobby Ogolla, former Harambee Starlets captain Neddy Atieno, Caesar Handa, Hassan Haji, Dr. J.J Masiga, Michael Muchemi, Racheal Kamweru, Mwangi Muthee and Anthony Isayi.
Former KTN anchor Linda Ogutu has been appointed to head a six-member secretariat whose members include Edward Rombo, Robin Toskin, Rashid Shedu and Maxwell Wasike.
The decision came barely two days after the CS received a draft FKF Constitution from the Caretaker Committee whose mandate ended officially after a trouble-plagued six-month stint.
Weeks before, the Caretaker Committee took a bold step to facilitate constitutional reforms through a document entitled 'Key Changes To The Constitution And Rules Of FKF (2020)' meant to streamline the administration of football in the country.
The development followed a comprehensive nationwide consultative exercise where the committee held fruitful discussions with key stakeholders in the industry.
The committee engaged with representatives of clubs from the Kenyan Premier League, National Super League and Division One.
Committee chairman, retired judge Aaron Ringera, reiterated their desire to have a document that sits well with the Constitution of the Land and the Sports Act.
“We are engaging all stakeholders of FKF with a view to having an FKF Constitution which is compliant with the Constitution of Kenya and the Sports Act, 2013 and which encapsulates the values and principles of good governance, accountability, transparency and honours gender equity and equality,” Ringera said.
Head of secretariat Linda Ogutu said the ultimate goal was to present a working document to Dr. Amina once they are through with the reforms.
“The Caretaker Committee has a duty to ensure the FKF Constitution complies with the Sports Act. At the moment, the existing document is flawed,” she added.
Ogutu said they facilitated the process to ensure members own the document by proposing amendments.
Amid all the whirlwind of confusion, AFC Leopards' honcho Dan Shikanda has called on Kenyans to exercise a great deal of patience as Sports CS seeks a lasting solution to the woes bedeviling the local football scene.
Shikanda made the remarks as the country sank into a further panic after the continental football governing body, Fifa, disqualified the country from the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Shikanda said the CS was quite in order in her sustained efforts to seek a permanent solution to the existing stalemate that has led to Kenya's suspension from international competitions.
“I'm confident the minister is doing her job to ensure we settle the issue once and for all. We need to get it all right,” Shikanda said.
“It takes quite some time to fix problems. Things were worse with the former federation. The future of the country can only be secured by using the right tools including a workable constitution.
“Let's be patient and allow the CS to do her job. I'm satisfied with what she has done so far,” Shikanda said.
On his part, Football Kenya Federation chairman Sam Nyamweya reckons the government and the world football governing body, Fifa, should sit and talk to save Kenyan football.
“The minister is on the right path but must move with speed. She means well and has goodwill and we must support her as stakeholders,” Nyamweya said.
“The Transition Committee should quickly transit to Normalisation Committee and organise elections as soon as possible,” he observed.
Nyamweya welcomed the move by the CS, saying she meant well for Kenyan football and urged Fifa to look at the bigger picture and help save the game instead of its continued hard stance against the action by the CS.
“The action by Fifa was expected, but time has now come for the world body to take cognisance of the realities on the ground, we must accept the will of the Kenyan stakeholders and the respect the rule of law.”
“Fifa must now respect the court ruling which in essence lent credence to the action the CS took last November by sending the then federation officials home,” Nyamweya said.
In the wake of the crisis, a group of local stakeholders are contemplating forming an ad-hoc committee to run football in the country, claiming the stalemate has occasioned a vacuum that should plugged.
The group, comprising delegates drawn from the FKF branches across the country, spoke a day after a High Court verdict that dismissed a petition lodged by ousted FKF president Nick Mwendwa who challenged Sports CS's decision to constitute a Caretaker committee on November 11.
In a statement written on behalf of the 44 delegates, the committee's secretary-general Lothurs Mokua said they resolved to write to embattled FKF Secretary-General Barry Otieno asking him to call for an elective SGM in line with the FKF constitution.
“We wrote to Barry Otieno as had been agreed but we are yet to get a positive response. We will share that information with delegates who will agree on the way forward.”
“The delegates will deliberate on the running of national football leagues, collaboration/partnership with the Kenya government on the development of football in Kenya,” Mokua said.
Other issues on the agenda include the re-opening of/access to the FKF secretariat offices as well as an audit of the secretariat (human resource and assets).
Mokua said they are doing all this in their capacity as the General Assembly which is still in existence despite the government's decision to expel FKF.
He refuted claims that they were out to outsmart the government and hijack the leadership of the federation.
“If anything, we are eager to support the government's efforts and we have stated that as part of the day's agenda,” Mokua said.
“This is just a consultative forum and what we want is for members to chart the way forward.”
Seasoned football administrator Lordvick Aduda has, however, faulted the whole idea, describing it as unconstitutional.
Aduda said the meeting will merely serve to worsen the already volatile situation in the country.
“I'm opposed to a situation where the decisions by the delegates will be seen to be at loggerheads with the stakeholders. It's important that they appreciate the fact that the government is also a major stakeholder in football,” Aduda said.
“The CS received the draft FKF Constitution from the Caretaker Committee just the other day and promised to provide direction after further consultations. So what's all the hurry for?
“ Further, they don't have the power to audit the secretariat as they are planning to do. No complaint has been placed by the General Assembly.”
“The ball goes back to the CS. The CS knows there is a vacuum. What we need is a road map that will lead to Normalcy Committee,” Aduda said.
FKF Nairobi branch chairman, Amos Otieno, said it would be unfortunate for key players to sit back unresponsively. “We have an international match on the cards and we need to get things moving,” Otieno said.
“We are ready and willing to work closely with the government to right the wrongs in the country's football.
As the country grapples with challenges posed by external forces, things have not been all rosy back at home either.
Ringera's committee received a backlash after Mathare United chairman Bob Munro claimed they were unjustifiably suspended and eventually relegated from the Kenyan Premier League.
Munro had accused the committee of accelerating their woes by delaying the disbursement of the funds in question.
He pointed out that on December 22, 2021, Mathare shared a detailed note with the FKF CC on the escalating financial Instability of the top tier clubs and the committee promised to work closely with the Ministry to cushion the clubs from financial instability.
“If the FKF CC had paid its overdue grant arrears before April 23, our club could have avoided forfeiting any matches and instead been able to cover all the costs of our then eight remaining matches.”
However, in a terse response, the Transition Committee head of leagues and competitions, Ali Amour, said they are not obliged to aid any top-flight club.
Amour said Munro was being dishonest by implying that the committee owed the club financial favours.
“The club owner runs the club. They need to have their own funds and we are only meant to give them a stipend,” said Amour. “We were not obliged to give them any money and it's improper for them to imply so.
Mathare's 24-year existence in the country's top-flight league screeched to a halt after the Transition Committee sent them packing on May 15 following the three walkovers they dished out to Bandari, Ulinzi Stars, and Sofapaka.
In a letter signed by head of secretariat Linda Ogutu and addressed to Mathare chairman Bob Munro, the Committee said it invoked the FKF statutes in its decision.
"As provided for by... the rules and regulations governing Kenyan Football which states; 'any club in a league format that does not turn up for three fixtures in a season and their explanation... is not accepted in all the three incidences to the FKF National Leagues and Competitions Committee, shall be suspended for the rest of the season, shall be relegated to a lower tier for the next season and may face other disciplinary action.'
“We therefore hereby write to you decreeing that having failed to play three matches in contravention of the above-stated rule... Mathare United FC has been suspended from the FKF Premier League 2021/22 season and shall be relegated to the National Super League for the next season."