•Namwamba spoke after meeting with an Africa Fifa delegation at the Kenyan National Library Service in Nairobi to map out the next steps, just weeks after Kenya was spared a far-reaching ban.
•Namwamba made it clear that the government is not interested in running the game directly, but rather in creating an enabling environment.
The Kenyan government and Fifa, the world football governing body, have agreed on a slew of measures to help resurrect football in the country, Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba has said.
Namwamba spoke after meeting with an Africa Fifa delegation at the Kenyan National Library Service in Nairobi to map out the next steps, just weeks after Kenya was spared a far-reaching ban.
Fifa’s director of Member Association Africa, Gelson Fernandes, and the Confederation of African Football’s legal counsel, Naddim Magdy, were in attendance.
The two are in the country as part of a joint Fifa/Caf delegation for a series of meetings with government officials and key football stakeholders.
Others include Nodar Akhalkatsi, director of strategic projects and MA governance, Solomon Mudege, head of development programs, Alessandro Gramalgia, strategic development manager, and Sarah Solemale.
Namwamba made it clear that the government is not interested in running the game directly, but rather in creating an enabling environment.
“We have assured Fifa and Caf that the government has no intention of directly managing football. Football has its own infrastructure; the government is only interested in creating an environment in which football can thrive,” Namwamba said.
“That environment includes making sure we have proper laws and policies to make sure those who run football do it effectively,” he added. The CS urged Fifa and Caf to assist in the development of football in the country.
“We have agreed on certain targets that will help Kenya get back to the football high table. And so we have discussed several projects, one being the development of youth football. We have told Fifa and Caf that Kenya is going back to the basics and the basics for us is grassroots football.”
“Fifa has shared some programs that are already running and that we would like to see here. One of those programs is called ‘Coach on the Ground’ which aims to provide well-trained and technically competent coaches at the grassroots.”
Fifa will train and certify all teachers who coach children during primary and secondary school ball games as part of the agreement with the government.
“Football for schools is another program that Fifa is running which we see as very useful and which will be in sync with our Talanta Hela program of developing football from the grassroots.
Namwamba also stated that they discussed infrastructure upgrades with the two governing bodies. “There isn’t a single stadium in Kenya that can host a Fifa/Caf game, not even Kasarani or Nyayo,” Namwamba lamented.
“In that context, Fifa and Caf have agreed to extend technical support so that the next time you see us touch any facility or next time you see us construct any stadia, it will be in the context of a master plan on the development of facilities with the involvement of Fifa’s technical support
Caf legal counsel Naddim Magdy expressed hope for quick resolutions that will allow Kenya to return fully to the international stage.
“We’d like to hear what the Kenyan government and the FKF have to say. We will take the suggestions back to our headquarters and discuss them internally, after which we will be in a better position to provide a definitive answer."