We stare at expulsion from Qatar race, says Mwendwa


Nick Mwendwa, in 2016 after he was crowned the FKF president. PHOTO/COURTESY
Nick Mwendwa, in 2016 after he was crowned the FKF president. PHOTO/COURTESY

In Summary

  • It is most probable that Kenya will be locked out of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers come Friday, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) boss Nick Mwendwa has agonizingly conceded.
  • On Friday, the world football governing body will determine the way forward regarding the Sh.110 million penalty FKF was ordered to pay former coach Adel Amrouche, which is yet to be honored.
  • Kenya is in Group E of the 2022 qualifiers alongside Mali, Uganda and Rwanda.

It is now more likely that Kenya will be locked out of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers come Friday, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) boss Nick Mwendwa has agonizingly conceded.

On Friday, the world football governing body will determine the way forward regarding the Sh.110 million penalty FKF was ordered to pay former Harambee Stars coach Adel Amrouche, which is yet to be honored.

After yet another extension of 30 days from March 23 this year by FIFA to the federation to clear the fine, a bothered Mwendwa has confirmed to Citizen Digital that it will not be possible to settle it.

“Adel Amrouche was dismissed by the previous administration for spitting on a referee in a match against Comoros, and he went to FIFA, and to CAS (Court of Administration for Sport) to report Kenya. We have been battling with him for the last four years since I was elected. Last year he was awarded by CAS $ 1 million plus for damages after being in court for four years.

“So we have asking the Government help us make the payment so that we can close this, but as you know with this COVID-19 business they (the Government) has not responded to us. So today (Monday) we have written to FIFA to give us more time so that we can persuade the Government to help us pay,” explained Mwendwa.

With the previous concerted appeals to the Ministry of Sports that have for long yielded naught so far, Mwendwa’s optimism appeared to fade the more the clock ticks towards Friday.

Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed addresses the media after supervising KCPE examination process at Moi Avenue Primary School on Tuesday, October 30, 2018. PHOTO| COURTESY

 

“We want Kenyans to know that on Friday we will be removed from the FIFA competition, the World Cup qualifiers for Qatar 2022. In the event that it happens, we will however remain playing in all other competitions, but miss out on that so very important competition as a consequence,” averred Mwendwa.

FKF’s request to FIFA for another grace period to pay Amrouche is based on the fact that most Governments across the world are now concentrating funds in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We know the Government is now fully stretched in the efforts to stop COVID-19. We hope FIFA understands that bit. We hope the Government understands our position too that it is good to pay and let the boys play.

Mwendwa regrets that a generation could miss out on an opportunity to compete for a World Cup appearance, the biggest football competition on the globe that comes once in every four years.

“It would be very unfortunate. Nobody would want that. FIFA can’t allow us to use their grants to us to settle such a fine.

“We however hope that FIFA can grant our request and we continue talking to the Government to pay so that the young players do not miss out on this big chance for exposure. If it does not happen, we will still continue doing our best to develop the sport through all other avenues within our means, so that in 2026 we be ready to bounce back,” he said.

If FIFA goes ahead and punishes Kenya, then the federation will not have to pay the amount, as “there cannot be double punishment.”

Kenya is in quite a fair Group E of the 2022 qualifiers alongside Mali, Uganda and Rwanda.

FIFA expelled Zimbabwe from the 2018 World Cup qualifiers for a similar offence in March 2015, after her local FA failed to pay Brazilian coach Jose Claudinei Georgini his dues.

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Story By Jacob Icia
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