Harambee Starlets captain worried stand-off between government and FKF could see them kicked out of Awcon

Monday, November 1st, 2021 20:48 |
Corazone Aquino control ball during Friendly match vs Cameroon. Photo/David Ndolo

Harambee Starlets captain Corazone Aquino believes that the team currently has a realistic chance of qualifying for the Women’s World Cup and Africa Women Cup of Nations (Awcon) and feels that a possible ban of the country by world football governing body, Fifa, would jeopardise their chances.

After beating the Bright Starlets of South Sudan 15-1 on aggregate, Starlets are currently just two matches away from the continental showpiece.

They just need to beat neighbours Uganda in two back-to-back matches in February to book a ticket to the continental event to be held in Morocco next year.

While at the Awcon, all the four semi-finalists will automatically qualify for the World Cup, a feat Aquino believes the team can achieve this time.

In the 2016 Awcon, Kenya were knocked out in the group stage after losing to Ghana, Mali and Nigeria in the preliminary rounds played in Cameroon.

However, they didn’t qualify for the 2018 competition after losing to Uganda and Equatorial Guinea in the qualifying matches.

“Personally, the wrangles between the government and the federation will affect us big time in case Fifa decides to ban Kenya.

I don’t plan to play my football locally alone, but going abroad to play in the major leagues is my dream and any footballer’s dream and if we are banned, it will be impossible to play out of the country or join foreign clubs,” she told People Sport.

She added: “The Ministry of Sports’ CS Amina Mohamed should consider us footballers, because the moment we are banned by Fifa, the action will really affect women in the sport.

As Corazone, I have invested a lot to reach this level of my career and a ban would kill my dreams and gains.”

There has been a stand-off between the Ministry of Sports and Football Kenya Federation (FKF) since the  CS ordered an audit on the local federation over suspicion of misuse of funds.

The stand-off threatens to attract a Fifa ban, especially after FKF wrote to the global body, informing them of the developments.

FKF Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Barry Otieno told People Sport at the weekend that they had accounted for the Sh244 million in question, to the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI), the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Auditor General, read malice in the whole issue and even wrote to world football governing body Fifa about the development.

Fifa states that political interference is when a government tries to take direct control of a football association.

Vihiga Queens chief executive officer Michael Senelwa also shared the same sentiments as he prepares the team for the inaugural Confederation of African Football (CAF) Women Champions League.

“We have been in camp for the last seven days in preparation for the Champions League in Egypt.

We have made a few signings and we are raring to go. All I want to say is that if there is continuous interference from the government into football matters then it may see us banned and that would be a major blow to us,” Senelwa said.

He added: “If we are banned we may not be able to feature at the Champions League in Egypt, because our plan was that we travel to Egypt on November 3, which is Wednesday and if anything happens between now and our first match, then it will mean we can’t take part in the event.

All this is in the hands of the CS and she should make her decisions wisely.”

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