Philemon Otieno’s career in limbo as club and FA tussle
International defender Philemon Otieno’s career is on the line after a protracted battle between Football Kenya Federation (FKF) and his club Gor Mahia on who is to foot the bill for his knee surgery after he suffered an injury more than a month ago.
While the two parties are engaged in finger pointing, Otieno remains unable to train or play football due to the injury since he walked out of Harambee Stars’ Africa Nations Championships (CHAN) second leg match against Tanzania at Kasarani Stadium just after 33 minutes, has about two and half months remaining in his contract with Gor Mahia and if the injury is not treated and he returns to action in time, there is no guarantee that his club will renew his contract.
According to Gor’s chief executive Lodvick Aduda, the federation should take the responsibility of treating the player since he got injured while playing for the national team.
“FKF have been lying to the player that they had planned to take him to France for the knee surgery, but they recently made a u-turn and said they don’t have money to foot the bill. It’s unfortunate that FKF officials are now just focused on football elections at the expense of national team players, in fact all Harambee Stars players should be having an insurance cover,” said Aduda.
He added: “I did a letter to the federation on September 4, in regard to the player’s treatment, but there was no response. The player has gone out of his way and identified a local doctor who can perform the surgery, a Dr J. M. Mailu and he ready to do it on loan so that he can be paid the bill in installments by the federation, but they are still not keen to engage him.”
However, a senior federation official who sought anonymity said the player came to the national team with the injury and just aggravated it while playing for Stars.
“The world over it’s always the club’s responsibility to treat their injured player and not the local federation. Aduda himself was a secretary general of the federation some years back, he can tell us how many injured players the federation treated during his tenure,” he said.
Former Harambee Stars captain Dennis Oliech who also played for Gor Mahia until his contract was terminated recently, said the situation was unfortunate and appealed to the federation to help the player foot the bills if they were in a position.
“The club should take the responsibility, but clearly Gor will not. They have never treated any player before, I was lucky when I broke my arm while playing for them in a league match against Western Stima as I was rushed to a near by clinic, but they took more than one hour to raise Sh 7,000 for me to be discharged. After that I had to take care of myself, the physiotherapy and every other thing and I’m not alone,” Oliech said.
He added: “FKF should just step in and help the player and if they can’t, Philemon should treat himself and return to action before Gor sack him. If he is not careful he will end up like me, they will just terminate his contract or not renew it with an excuse that he has not been attending training, the same script like mine.”