‘Jojo,’ Imbo call for an urgent solution to quagmire in football
Two celebrated Kenyan footballers have called upon the government and Fifa to reach an amiable solution in regards to the indefinite suspension slapped on the country by the world football governing body.
Former international defender George “Jojo” Waweru and one-time Kenyan Premier League high scoring player Mannaseh “Chichi” Imbo, both residents of the football-crazy Ofafa Maringo Estate in Nairobi, expressed concern with the sad state of affairs, saying it is hurting players.
Waweru, a former Harambee Stars, AFC Leopards and Tusker defender said it is a high time the Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed held dialogue with Fifa to reach a common ground for the sake of millions of footballers in the country who eke out a living from the sport.
“Please end this circus once and for all. As a former player, I know what the current generation is going through and nothing short of dialogue between the government and Fifa will help their course,” said Waweru who had professional stints in Sweden, Tanzania and Rwanda during his hey days.
Speaking separately, Imbo echoed Waweru’s statement, saying: “We cannot take away the fact that football in the country is not its usual self and players are doing odd jobs to survive since the banishment of the country by Fifa.’’
Himself a car parking attendant outside Makadara Law Courts in Nairobi after retiring from football, Imbo said the government should spare a thought for footballers and act accordingly to the whims of Fifa.
“As long as the standoff between the government and Fifa continues, things could be worse off and will negatively affect football in Kenya and especially at the grassroots level,” said Imbo who plundered a record 25 goals while turning out for the defunct Meru Bombers in 2005.
Waweru said the punitive measures by Fifa might deter hundreds of footballers who would wish to venture into the revered sport.
“Football is a beautiful game and when aspiring footballers see what is happening in our game, they can get discouraged to take the sport as a career.” he said.
e in the country swallow their pride and toe the line of Fifa for normalcy to return,’’ observed Waweru who played in 41 matches for the national team from 1999 to 2007.
Waweru made the remarks in the wake of a demand by Fifa for the Sports Ministry to reinstate Football Kenya Federation (FKF) which it disbanded last November, as well as demobilizing the Transition Committee that is running the game on an interim basis.
Imbo interjected: “To me, it does not make sense when players train hard when our league is not even recognized by Fifa. Players cannot join lucrative leagues in Europe which is a setback in their careers. Let the government be steadfast in having the ban lifted for Kenya to be readmitted in the Fifa family.