Cash-strapped sports federations lay open funds grievances

Kenya’s sports federations on Tuesday laid open their grievances occasioned by lack of timely and adequate funding from the Ministry of Sports when they appeared before the Parliamentary Sports Committee.

Before the committee chaired by Machakos Town Member of Parliament Victor Munyaka, the federation chiefs expressed their displeasure for being disgracefully overlooked in terms of government support despite Kenyan teams relentlessly continuing to fly the country’s flag high.

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) President Nick Mwendwa who few weeks ago was involved in a tug-of-war with the ministry over national women’s football team funding, accused the ministry of being ‘uncooperative’ in meeting their budgetary requests.

“We have not had any help from the government despite making requests many times. Our national teams are having a hell of time preparing for games because we are not receiving any help from the government,” said the FKF boss.

This comes few days after the government had to bail out Harambee Starlets to return to training after the football governing body chief had disbanded the camp owing to lack of funds.

In his presentation, the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) vice chairman Thomas Opiyo reflected on a successful year the federation has had so far with the Kenya women’s sevens team, Lionesses, already qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games.

Poignantly, Opiyo said players are always shamelessly tackling a herculean task of being least facilitated and at the same time taking on opponents that are pampered to the hilt.

“The people we are competing against are treated very well but our players are struggling because the federations can’t facilitate them. Our biggest challenge last year and this year has been funding, the sports fund is in place but the funds have not been forthcoming so we are wondering why it was created,” he lamented.

Last week, KRU offices along Ngong Road, Nairobi were raided and property seized by auctioneers due to a debt owed to Emi Travel who procured return tickets for the Kenya 15’s test match against Spain in 2015.

“The ministry is very good at congratulating the team on social media platforms but paying the players their allowances is a tall order for them,” he added.

Besides football and rugby, other federations who were represented at the meeting included the Kenya Hockey Union (KHU), Athletics Kenya (AK) and the Kenya Table Tennis Association (KTTA).

Officials from athletics and boxing were also present as the country battles a financial crisis that has gripped major sports federations.


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