Radical surgery needed at FKF
The government yesterday sent packing the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) leadership and appointed a caretaker committee to run the sport for the next six months. Though unexpected, the decision taken by the Sports ministry, apparently with tacit approval from other top government officials, was not entirely unexpected. Football management in the country has been in the pits.
According to Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed, the decision will allow for a thorough investigation into suspected embezzlement of millions of shillings channelled to the Nick Mwendwa-led federation by both the government and other financiers to run the sport.
As expected, Mwendwa was quick to denounce the move and warn Kenya of an impending ban by the world soccer governing body, Fifa, for alleged government interference in the running of the sport.
The threat of Fifa cracking the whip over the supposed “interference” is a tired refrain, employed for years by corrupt soccer chiefs across the world to insulate themselves from accountability while they plunder their federations’ coffers. This should not be allowed to continue, at the expense of the popular sport.
If anything, Kenya is not the first country to institute such measures to save the game. At the moment, Ghana, a continental soccer powerhouse, is under the management of a caretaker committee.
Another continental soccer giant, Cameroon, and Chad, have previously taken the same route to weed out corruption in the running of the sport. Fifa, too, has, after many years of self-denial, embarked on a clean-up of its own house, resulting in the ouster and subsequent prosecution of former president Sepp Blatter, and more recently, former Uefa president and France soccer great Michel Platini.
Closer home, the wind of change has swept aside former long-serving CAF chief Issa Hayatou on account of corruption. It should, therefore, surprise nobody when the government moves to rein in suspected corruption at Kandanda House.
It has been done before, first in 2004 when then Sports minister Najib Balala dissolved the country’s then soccer governing KFF, and later in 2006, for varied reasons. As expected, Fifa banned Kenya on both occasions, and similar action could befall the country this time round, a worthy price to pay if the sport is to be rescued from the blatant mismanagement being witnessed currently.
The caretaker committee ought to move fast and streamline the running of the game in the country.Investigating agencies should fast-track probe into the alleged embezzlement of cash into the sport.