We borrowed funds to purchase “Business Class” ticket for Olunga: Mwendwa
- Football Kenya Federation President Nick Mwendwa on Monday claimed that the association was forced to borrow cash to purchase a business class air-ticket for lead striker Michael Olunga to feature in the upcoming 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Egypt in Alexandria.
Football Kenya Federation President Nick Mwendwa on Monday claimed that the association was forced to borrow cash to purchase a business class air-ticket for lead striker Michael Olunga to feature in the upcoming 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Egypt in Alexandria.
The Stars are primed to tackle the Pharaohs this Thursday away in Egypt but their travel plans have been overshadowed by the travel arrangements with the FKF chief saying that Olunga could not make the long distance trip from Kashiwa, Japan to Egypt for the high stakes clash in an economy class and be expected to perform at the optimum level.
“We had to borrow 1.25 million to cater for Mike Olunga’s flight to Cairo. Money was to be sent but up to now nothing has been sent. Moving forward, we want to wean ourselves out of the government and ministry’s support by getting sponsors. We want to clear all the debts and find a way to commercialise our teams. In a nutshell these four years will be used in cleaning up,” said Mwendwa during a morning interview on Hot 96 and Citizen TV.
At the weekend, Harambee Stars coach Francis Kimanzi kicked off the travel storm when he said “it did not make sense” for the team to travel to Egypt thorough a longer route – via Dubai yet they could secure a direct flight to Egypt through EgyptAir.
Mwendwa has of late been locked in a bitter war of words with Sports Principal Secretary Kirimi Kaberia over funding for the national football teams and he did not hold back in the morning sports show.
“Our players are already on their way to Egypt and yet money – accommodation money – has not yet been sent. What is that? We applied for the money in September but they started processing it three days ago,” added the football chief.
“For coaches we have been hiring them on closed contracts which has seen us count losses after sacking or rather letting them go. We have learnt our lesson and now we do not do closed contracts. We now work with agreed terms that protect us from such losses,”he charged.
“Rally and Golf federations are given cash to facilitate their activities without being asked for any accountability but us we are being asked for 10 days after funds are released. As long as I am fighting to get these players funds I shall continue to fight for them.”
On claims that his federation sent joyriders to Afcon in June during the continental football fiesta, he said: “We had videographers taking content, editing it and sending all that to all media houses because there was no media house that sent their people. You can write all lies but you will do your work and if you cannot do your work as required and as you are paid to do, the sportsmen and women of this country will not spare you. We will defend sport and athletes at any cost.”
Mwendwa added that the country needs more stadia for teams in counties because even the most popular teams in the country like Gor Mahia cannot raise enough funds to build their own stadium. He alleges that money was also spent in Marsabit and Ruringu stadia and no work was done.
“The shame of unfinished stadia and scandalous work around them will not disappear just because you attack me. Somebody somewhere is sponsoring lies to be written against me because I have asked for what belongs to athletes. We shall increase the tempo instead. No amount of lies sponsored by anyone who cannot do their job before being called out will help.
“ Our sportsmen and women will be respected and treated correctly. Our request will be responded to. Sponsoring malicious articles four months later will not rescue anyone. We need an audit on Nyayo Stadium. It has been on repair for the longest period ever,” a visibly irked Nick said in reference to reports carried by a local daily that the Sh240 million pumped by the government into Stars Afcon preparations in June and July could have been misused by his office and associates.
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