May 6 – Competing stakeholders in Kenyan football have clashed over the decision to wind up the league because of the coronavirus.
All remaining games of the season were cancelled last week by Football Kenya Federation (FKF) due to the pandemic, with Gor Mahia declared champions and representing the country in the African Champions League next season.
“With the new announcement by President Uhuru Kenyatta, extending the cessation of movement in and out of Nairobi by another 21 days, there is no way the league will conclude by the 23rd of May,” said FKF president Nick Mwendwa in a statement.
Gor Mahia were leading the table by seven points but the FKF’s announcement met with disapproval from several clubs in the Kenyan Premier League.
“The ideal solution is for FKF and KPL to diplomatically agree on a way forward,” Ulinzi Stars chairman Erick Oloo was quoted locally as saying.
And Kakamega Homeboyz owner Cleophas ‘Toto’ Shimanyula said that the league, which still has an average 11 rounds to go, should run to a conclusion.
“Mwendwa is up to some mischief and we will not allow that,” charged Shimanyula.
“We are second on the table and in with a chance of winning the league this season. I have spent Sh35 million to fund this team this season and the players are motivated to finish the matches. The leagues in Tanzania and Egypt are set to resume, why should we cancel ours?”
But Kariobangi Sharks chairman Robert Maoga took a different view.
“Most clubs are short of finances. My sponsor who is a betting firm is not doing business around the world,” he said.
“FIFA says we need three weeks (of pre-season training) before matches can be played. We need another two months to complete the games. Factor in the health of the players. It is not feasible for the league to continue. Let us prepare for next season.”
Even before the coronavirus, Kenyan football had been sorely hampered by financial problems. According to the local Nation Sport, Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards have not paid staff for six months.
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