Most affected, the Harambe Stars
The majority of Kenyans feel the suspension of the country from international football competitions by FIFA was long overdue.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino on Thursday announced that Kenya and Zimbabwe had been suspended from international football due to government interference while the Kenyan government courted the wrath of FIFA in late 2021, when they disbanded the Football Kenya Federation to establish a government-run caretaker committee.
A large number of Kenyans welcome the move to ban the country from all international football activity in what is a big blow to Kenyan football.
In confirming the indefinite suspension of Kenya and Zimbabwe, Infantino the move from Cabinet Secretary for Sports Culture and Heritage Amina Mohamed was against FIFA laws which stipulate that a country should have an independent football body, free from any government interference.
In the few months the caretaker committee has been in charge, there have still been some tough questions asked on the capability of the new body to run football in Kenya.
The committee also had the uphill task of having their activities recognized by CAF and FIFA after disbanding the Football Kenya Federation.
Cracks in the new regime started to emerge after CAF barred Kenya’s national women team Harambee Starlets from taking on Uganda in a women’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier after FKF Secretary General Barry Otieno wrote to the continental body expressing the national office’s inability to independently plan and execute international matches.
With the continued arm-wrestle between the government and the Federation, Kenyans took to social media to welcome the suspension from international football activities, with majority saying it was now time to streamline the sport in the country without distractions.
“The people of Kenya are the government, they are tired of corruption in KFF, and your support to it, put the ban, place a lid and cement it,” one Twitter user said.
“It’s better to be suspended and organise our house than have Nick Mwendwa doing nothing apart from fighting everyone on his path!” another added “let it be banned…CS Amina can’t destroy football with petty politics.
What does the ban mean for Kenya? In accordance with article 13 of the FIFA Statutes, Kenya is at a great disadvantage because of the bans as until the suspension is lifted, FKF representative and club teams are therefore no longer entitled to take part in international competitions.
In addition, neither the FKF nor any of its members or officials may benefit from any development programs, courses or training from FIFA or CAF.