State promises to support sportsmen, women during coronavirus pandemic

Thursday, April 23rd, 2020 23:10 |
President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) gives a thumbs up to AFC Leopards captain Robinson Kamura when the team visited State House last month. Photo/PD/FILE

President Uhuru Kenyatta has assured all sportsmen and women the government will support them in all ways possible during the current lockdown.

In a public address to the nation yesterday, Kenyatta stated the government is trying to help, they are also working on ways to cushion the athletes until the Covid-19 pandemic is contained.

“I can assure you we have not forgotten our athletes,” Kenyatta said. “We are looking at ways possible to help them because we know they are suffering now they don’t go out to play.

“We have the National Sports Fund which we will use to get money and help support them at these difficult times.

We have not ignored them, we are looking at every Kenyan who is suffering out there and we will help all of them until the pandemic is contained.”

Economic hardships that local footballers have been subjected to due to the effect of coronavirus could be eased up soon as government lays out plan to counter the situation on the suffering footballers.

On Tuesday, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) while addressing local clubs in the top three men’s leagues (Kenya Premier League Clubs, National Super League Clubs, National Men Division One League Clubs as well as the top two women’s leagues (Kenya Women Premier League Clubs, Kenya Women Division One League Clubs), revealed that the federation has held several meetings with the Ministry of Sports to discuss how best they can support players, clubs and leagues.

“In view of the aforementioned, the Ministry of Sports has requested that we (FKF) urgently furnish them with a list of 30 members; 25 players and five) officials of the clubs participating in the National Leagues i.e.

Kenyan Premier League, Women Premier League, National Super League, FKF Division One Leagues for both Men and Women,” a statement from the federation read in part. 

FKF told the clubs that they had up to 10am yesterday to submit the required information as requested by the ministry.

“Kindly share with us on mail the above requested information for your club including the players’ and officials’ phone numbers latest tomorrow (yesterday), Wednesday 22 by 10am so as to allow us forward the same to the Ministry in good time,” the statement read.

Upon receiving the news, local footballers have welcomed the move by government to cushion them from the bites of coronavirus, saying the financial support will go a long way in saving the clubs from collapsing.

“Under the economic conditions globally, I will say it is a welcome move if they indeed fall through.

Every sector is affected and if it happens  personally I will be grateful and thankful to the Government,” said Shabana chairman Jared Nivaton.

FKF Division One clubs also welcomed the move, thanking the government for listening to their cry.

“It’s a very good move for us as clubs. At least players will get something during this time that football activities have been shut down and with no any means of survival, it’s not a big thing at all.

We thank the federation and the government through the ministry of sports for remembering us,” said  Gusii coach Andrew Mark Ongwae.

However, some clubs felt that even though the move is good, they have been hard done by ministry’s stand on taking only 25 players and yet some clubs have 30 players.

But others said clubs could have more than 25 players, that they will exercise leadership skills, teamwork and sharing to ensure the goodwill of the government is not watered down.

Others also urged both the federation and the government not to forget the fourth tier, the FKF National Division Two teams and even branch leagues.

“We continue to engage the Government to consider even more teams in this plan,” said FKF media liaison Ken Okaka.

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