Ministry, FKF feud as Harambee Stars risk being kicked out of hotel in Egypt
In what is fast turning out to be a national shame of monumental proportion, Kenya’s football team Harambee Stars risk being kicked out of their hotel in Egypt just hours to a crunch 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against the hosts as their accommodation costs are yet to be paid for.
Sadly, in Nairobi, its blame-game as the federation through its chief executive officer Barry Otieno released a statement Wednesday night blaming the Ministry of Sports of failing to release the funds for the purpose.
The Stars under coach Francis Kimanzi lock horns with the Pharaohs tomorrow(Thursday) in Alexandria.
In a statement, Otieno said: “The national team Harambee Stars is on the verge of being evicted from their hotel in Egypt for lack of payment.
“Since Friday Ministry officials have been promising that they will settle the payment, regrettably this has not happened.
“We have since been informed by the hotel that the team will be evicted and a few members of the technical team detain until payment is done.”
However, when contacted, Sports Principal Secretary Kirimi Kibera scoffed at the narrative putting the blame squarely at the doors of FKF.
“The accommodation budget is Sh.2.5 million but they are asking for Sh4.2 million…so we’ve asked them to provide us with a proper invoice, they brought this(budget request)yesterday and not before. The paper they gave yesterday does not have any banking information and that is what we are asking for. We can’t give them cash.
He added: “I’ve read their statement but what’s the ‘verge’ ?”he equipped, adding that, “they(Harambee Stars) are not booked there(at the hotel) for a day but till November 15th, but if they have paid(for the accommodation) they should show us receipts of payment or show us who is being paid.”
The two bodies have in the last three weeks been locked in a bitter war-of-words going for each others jugular.
FKF chief Mwendwa fired the first salvo when at a press briefing at a city hotel said that the ministry was frustrating the preparations of the national women team Harambee Starlets by not releasing the funds.
The girls eventually flew to Zambia to honour the Olympic qualifier upon the intervention of Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed but before ink could dry on the paper, the battle front had shifted to Stars travel arrangements to Cairo, coach Francis Kimanzi lamenting about the longer route – Dubai – which the team had to use to travel to Egypt as Mwendwa averred they had to borrow funds to purchase business class ticket for Japan based striker Michael Olunga to fly to Cairo to honour the match.
According to Mwendwa, Olunga had made it clear that he won’t travel for the match if booked on an economy class ticket.
Sadly, amidst it all, it’s the game that Kenyans so dearly love – football- that is feeling the pinch as the players watch helplessly in the fire exchange.