Act of kindness: Three Harambee Stars players paid for Otieno’s surgery

Soccer Football - Africa Cup of Nations 2019 - Group C - Kenya v Senegal - 30 ...
Soccer Football - Africa Cup of Nations 2019 - Group C - Kenya v Senegal - 30 June Stadium, Cairo, Egypt - July 1, 2019 Senegal's Sadio Mane in action with Kenya's Philemon Otieno REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Kenya internationals Victor Wanyama, Japan based striker Michael Olunga and Jesse Were rallied together by contributing funds to help their injured colleague Philemon Otieno undergo surgery.

Otieno has been out injured since August 4 when he featured for the national team in a CHAN qualifier against Tanzania but despite picking up an injury on international duty, the federation did not come to his aid despite an earlier promise to have him undergo surgery in France, with FKF maintaining that “they did not have funds”.

And after months of standoff between the federation and his club Gor Mahia, Otieno eventually went under the knife last week at the Kenyatta National Hospital.

“Otieno had no otherwise but to reach out to his fellow national team players to help raise money for his treatment. This, to me, is unfair. FKF should have footed the bills,” said Gor Mahia Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lordvick Aduda.

According to Aduda, Wanyama, Olunga and Were joined forces with the Kenya Footballers Welfare Association(KEFWA) by chipping in to save the career of the promising utility man by raising the Sh450,000 fee that was needed for the surgery.

Aduda added that FKF ignored his letter in which he sought to know whether the federation would undertake the surgery costs, a move that occasioned the intervention of friends.

“I wrote to FKF on September 4 to seek their opinion on the treatment of the player but to date they have not responded. They totally ignored my letter,” fumed Aduda.

Otieno picked a cruciate ligament injury and is expected to be out for at least six months. He featured prominently for Stars at this year’s African Cup of Nations finals in Egypt in July.

FKF CEO Barry Otieno on the other hand told Citizen Digital in a separate interview on Monday that “he had no details about the surgery” referring us to either Otieno or his club Gor Mahia.

Philemon has in the meantime declined to talk to the media since the matter gained national attention letting his club handle the media queries.

Meanwhile, asked whether the club will in future release their players for the national duties in light of Otieno’s experience, Aduda said it would be unfair to deny players a chance to play for their country reckoning that such a move could attract sanctions from world soccer governing body FIFA.

Kenya will collide with Mozambique in a FIFA international friendly this Sunday at Kasarani.

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Story By Milton Ochieng
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