Nyamweya mourns late football boss Kariuki
Former Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Sam Nyamweya yesterday paid tribute to one time Kenya Football Federation (KFF) chairman Maina Kariuki who died on Sunday.
Kariuki, a former top executive at Coca Cola, took over from former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth in 2001and left football management after several fights with the government.
He ran in 2001 with a promise to reform the sport given his corporate background and squared it off with Nyamweya who at the time was the secretary-general of the football governing body in the country.
The polls were characterised by chaos from delegates. Later on Kariuki won the duel against Nyamweya but his tenure was jolted by lots of controversies.
Reports of corruption were fraught as his promises prior to election were barely successful.
His office was accused of looting monies meant for football development including the infamous loss of Sh1 million gate collections during the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier match against Swaziland in Mombasa Stadium.
Alongside his then executives, now departed Mohamed Hatimy and Hussein Swaleh, they were taken to court over embezzlement charges.
On many occasions, Fifa was forced to intervene as incessant wrangles hit Kenyan football with the country being suspended twice during Kariuki’s reign.
It was also during his tenure that Harambee Stars qualified for the prestigious Africa Cup of Nations for the very first time since the year 1992.
His last assignment was when Harambee Stars qualified for the 2004 edition held in Tunisia with Kenya registering its first ever win in the tournament by beating Burkina Faso.
Nyamweya has mourned Kariuki’s passing, saying despite their differences he gave him all the support and advice after he had taken over from Kenneth.
“It is the foundation that we had set especially at the national team level that his office picked from and Kenya ultimately qualified for the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations,” said Nyamweya.
“Kariuki also played a key role in football development when he was the marketing executive at Coca Cola which sponsored the annual Coca Cola Under 17 championships that was to produce budding footballers who ended up playing for the country.
“The loss of Mar Kariuki is a big one for this country because while he had taken a low profile from football management, his counsel, advice and huge experience was still needed.”