Mutiso challenges KEFWA to step up the fight for players’ welfare

Former Gor Mahia winger Innocent Mutiso has challenged the current Kenya Footballers Welfare Association (KEFWA) officials to do much more if members are to benefit from the Union.
Mutiso, a Kenyan Premier League (KPL) winner with Mathare United in 2008, also says the main focus of the Association must not be lost in the secondary agenda.

While appreciating the challenges facing players are not easy to deal with in Kenya’s landscape, the former KEFWA chairman notes there has been laxity in the way the Union has been managed.

“We are in a very difficult period. Coronavirus has affected football globally but we all know Kenya is a special case.I have personally been called by so many players who are finding it difficult to survive. It is such a time that KEFWA should be at the forefront in players welfare initiatives,”said Mutiso.

He continued, “KEFWA has concentrated more on administrative structure, now getting support from FIFPro. That should only enhance operations towards support for the player.”

Before resigning from the Union, Mutiso recalls some foundational steps he masterminded in defending players against exploitation.

“We went across the country to see what is happening in some of the clubs. I remember visiting some of the sugar belt clubs only to be dumbfounded by the conditions players were living in. A player would be promised a house in their contract but what they found was single rooms where they were to share toilets as community. Without going on the ground you can’t know such bitter truths,” he added, stressing there should be no stagnation on such efforts.

He regretted the controversy surrounding the current office holders tenure, advising them to facilitate credible elections to win player’s confidence.

“When questions are being raised against officials, building trust is almost impossible. We voted in the last Football Kenya (FKF) elections and the voice of the player was heard through the ballot. That KEFWA has not put the house in order to an extent there are limitations to participate fully in the current electoral process is worrying,” averred Mutiso.

He further wondered why the KEFWA leadership has not been vocal in soliciting for the funds to cushion players, in the ongoing conversation between athletes, federations and Government.

“I was for example shocked that even in receiving the aid that FKF gave to the players recently, there was no KEFWA official present. We only saw club’s captains. If you are not seen in such fora, then your relevance is diminished,” he said, referring to the Sh 5000 that KPL and National Super League (NSL) players were given by the federation in partnership with an online betting firm.

Former Kenyan international James Situma is the current KEFWA chairman, with Jerry Santos playing the Secretary General role.