Football Kenya Federation (FKF) President Nick Mwendwa announced that world football governing body FIFA was likely to reach a decision on Friday, April 24 expelling Kenya’s national team from the qualifying rounds for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The news comes after FKF failed to pay former Harambee Stars coach Adel Amrouche Ksh109 million as ordered by FIFA.
“So, I am telling Kenyans that it is highly likely we will not be competing in the Qatar World Cup qualifiers.
“This is unfortunate but it is not the end of the world because we have other competitions including the Africa Nations Cup qualification matches for both men and women, plus several youth competitions,” Mwendwa told reporters.Football Kenya Federation (FKF) President Nick Mwendwa addresses a press conference at Safari Park hotel, Nairobi on December 7, 2019DAILY NATION
The Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne had found FKF guilty of dismissing the Belgian tactician without regard to existing regulations.
It further observed that FKF had on multiple occasions defaulted in paying off Amrouche’s compensation package.
“We were told to pay the money by this Thursday (April 23rd) but we have been unable to. We have written to FIFA and it is unlikely they will listen to us,” Mwendwa noted.
Mwendwa had sought the government’s assistance in paying off the debt, but the Ministry of Sports led by Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed had refused to shoulder the burden.
It remains to be seen whether the ministry will maintain its hard-line stance now that the national team’s chances of featuring at the next world cup are in jeopardy.
Calling for a bail-out, Mwendwa insisted that the federation simply did not have enough money in its accounts to pay off Amrouche.
“It is our opinion that the federation paying one person Ksh109 million will not be easy. We have explained that to FIFA so the only option is government but as you are aware, the Coronavirus has halted several activities and there isn’t much happening now,” he stated.
Kenya’s situation mirrors Zimbabwe’s 2015 predicament when it was expelled from qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The decision was rendered over the Zimbabwean federation’s failure to settle a debt owed to former coach José Claudinei Georgini.
Kenya has been pooled in Group E alongside Uganda, Rwanda and Mali in the preliminary qualifying round for the next World Cup.
Speaking to FIFA.com in an interview published on Tuesday, April 21, Harambee Stars and Kashiwa Reysol striker Michael Olunga expressed optimism that the national team could qualify for the global showpiece.
“Kenyan football has really improved over the past few years. The last time (before 2019) that Kenya participated in the Africa Cup of Nations was in 2004. It took us 15 years to get back to the continental showpiece. There was a big gap.
“There has been a change of leadership and now the new regime is trying to bring in new ideas and train the coaches more and bringing in a new aspect of the game. I believe they have really transformed Kenyan football, even though we’re still not where we’d like to be by 2020. We can see positive growth. I believe we have a great future,” he stated.From left, Kandanda House CEO Barry Otieno, FKF Boss Nick Mwendwa and Betika Business Head John Mbatia (extreme right) handing a jersey to a Betika National Super League representative on February 24.SIMON KIRAGUFILE