Fifa ready to meet new President
As Kenyans go to the polls this morning, World football governing body Fifa has indicated that it is keen to meet with the next Head of State to resolve the current football impasse in the country and allow resumption of the most popular sport in the country.
Fifa suspended Kenya indefinitely from all football activities in February over what it termed as government interference after outgoing Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed suspended Football Kenya Federation (FKF) for alleged misuse of public funds, ordered the closure of the FKF Secretariat and appointed a Caretaker Committee to run all local football activities.
Embattled FKF boss Nick Mwendwa has since been in and out of court battling several cases against him until last month when the state withdrew all the charges against him after the presiding Magistrate Eunice Nyuttu declined an application for adjournment when the matter came up for hearing on July 4. The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) had applied for adjournment claiming that they had no witnesses and that they wanted to review the evidence.
Yesterday, Amaju Pinnick who is a Member of Fifa Council representing Anglophone countries, told People Sport that the global body had investigated intensively on the Kenyan issue and has found out that it is all about witch-hunt and personal wars that were tremendously affecting the Kenyan football industry unfairly.
“We have been monitoring Kenya’s situation very closely for several months now and we have seen interference and we know exactly what happened. Fifa has intelligence globally and we have found out that the case in Kenya is purely a witch-hunt, where people talk about crime, corruption to get some one out of office,” Pinnick who also doubles doubles up as a member of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Executive Committee and also the president of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), told People Sport.
He added: “Gianni’s administration has zero tolerance on corruption, but what is happening in Kenya is purely politics and that is the reason why I’m coming now, because we wanted the government to exhaust all their legal moves. In Fifa and CAF we have very high regard of governments because football cannot thrive in isolation, they have to be partners for football progress and development because governments hold a very strategic position, but one thing we can’t allow is any form of interference whether direct or indirect, because if a minister comes in today and doesn’t like your face, the next day he or she wants to see you out and run football, we can’t allow that.”
Pinnick recalled how he suffered a similar experience in Nigeria, back in 2014 where he was suspended by the government, leading to Fifa’s wrath and the government had to reinstate him and his team for the country to be allowed back in the ‘Fifa family.’
“Most of these problems arise due to egoism. I have suffered the same problem some time back, that led to Nigeria’s suspension, but the government has to reinstate me and the ban was lifted instantly. Kenya know what to do, the requirements by Fifa are not much, just allow the federation to take charge, that’s all, then we can come and meet the new government and chart the way forward,” he said.
He added: “Nick Mwendwa has demonstrated character, we have our own intelligence and we can tell when things are moving in the right trajectory and direction and we also know when things are bad. Under Mwendwa’s leadership, Kenya has gained a lot in terms of getting sponsorships and proper audit. He has potential of becoming CAF or even Fifa president in future, but Kenyans want to finish him in his country. It has happened to me in Nigeria where you have permanent haters and abusers.”
The Nigerian football boss who was on his way to attend the CAF Congress meeting in Arusha said the global and continental bodies never delve in national politics and work with any elected government as partners for the growth of football.
“Football bring economic liberation, currently Kenyan players and their families are suffering because of something that can be swiftly be handled if the government heeds to Fifa requirements. So i’m just calling on the Kenyan government to do the right thing, let us just bury this ego for the sake of Kenyans, because Kenya is supposed to be the pride of Africa so someone’s ego should not stop the country’s progress in football,” he said.
He added: “Kenya is missing a lot from the suspension, we cannot even quantify. But there is a lot to gain if the suspension is lifted, even the possibility of Kenya co-hosting the 2027 Afcon.”