Greedy soccer officials blamed

Published on 03/02/2009

By Oscar Pilipili

For about a decade, Kenyan football has been engulfed in a leadership quandary and no solution seems to be forthcoming.

Politics has taken centre stage, with administrators going for one another’s jugular in a bid to control the sport.

Consequently, two factions, each claiming legitimacy, have emerged and this has left players and fans wondering what bedevils the sport.

Strathmore University team coach Mickey Weche during training. Photo: File

Opinions have been expressed by many sportsmen and women, including coach Mickey Weche, over the root cause of the wrangles.

He opines that development funds from the world football governing body Fifa are the cause of the mess in the local sport. Weche, one of the best defenders Kenya has ever produced, says most officials do not vie for positions to develop football, but to embezzle funds.

From Fifa

“Millions of shillings coming from Fifa are what sparked the power struggle,” the former AFC Leopards and Harambee Stars player said.

Weche said it was unfortunate that the administrators are charge of Fifa funds. “Fifa should stop channelling funds through the national office and direct it to specific areas of development for proper transparency and accountability,” he said.

Weche says direct funding from Fifa include youth programmes. “It is true football has transformed into a big industry, but most officials are business-oriented and their interest is to embezzle money,” he said.

Also blamed

Weche played for Harambee Stars between 1984 and 1992 and eleven years for Leopards since 1981. Weche, who was popularly known as ‘T9’ during his heydays for his aggressive tackling, also blamed euphoric elections, claiming they usher in unpopular candidates.

“If you look at well-run federations, you’ll find they are headed by former players. But it has become tricky for football because delegates vote with euphoria,” he said.

“People with little understanding of football matters capitalise on charged delegates to win their way into offices only to mess up the sport,” he said.

Weche said it was difficult for former football players to be elected into office because they do not have money with which to lure delegates.

He is convinced Sports Minister Helen Sambili was not doing enough to rescue the situation.

“Minister Sambili should stamp her authority and make a tough decision to save the sport,” he said.

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