World Cup ambition highlights eighth FKF AGM

World Cup ambition highlights eighth FKF AGM

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) reiterated its desire to see to it that the national women’s team Harambee Starlets qualifies for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup as the national organisation held its eighth Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Saturday in Nairobi.

The event was chaired by the FKF vice president Doris Petra in the absence of the federation boss Nick Mwendwa who was away in Cameroon to honour an invitation by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) chief Ahmad Ahmad.

“We believe we can, and we are putting in place all the necessary plans towards taking our women team to the World Cup, 2023. It is our main focus among this term and we know with the current qualification path as laid down by FIFA, we have what it takes to clinch a slot to New Zealand,” said Petra.

The message was repeated unequivocally by Mwendwa through a video recording.

“It was our hope that we would host the next African Women Cup of Nations tournament and it would have really boosted our chances, but Morocco won the bid. We are however optimistic because FIFA has added the number of teams qualifying for the World Cup from Africa to six, and we are now working to be among them.

“Twelve teams will be competing in the AWCON, meaning if you win one match you are already in the bracket of qualifying, compared with the men’s qualifiers where there is a tough group to top and play another round of qualifiers. We are hopeful on both fronts but we have a feeling we could take the women’s team to the World Cup before the men’s,” said Secretary General Barry Otieno, further dissecting the president’s message.

According to the SG, the launch of the inaugural FKF Women Cup is one of the strategies to increase competition and activity among the local women teams.

Harambee Starlets head coach David Ouma who was present at the AGM says the journey to New Zealand is already on, the major task being building on the team he was working with before the disruption of international calendar by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are on a serious scouting mission since our leagues resumed and we are seeing interesting talent. We still have our impact players who we have worked with before, but we are telling them to keep working hard and develop the attitude of playing and winning for the team.

“I confidently join president Mwendwa in emphasising we have a big opportunity and yes, it is a mission possible,” he noted.

Debt Free

On his part, SG Otieno outlined three other main agenda for the year and generally for the second term.

“One is youth development, we have massive talent in the grassroots and we are committed to getting the best out of them by giving the right training, equipment and opportunities to showcase what they have. Secondly we must continue building capacity in our coaches, because the more quality coaches we have the more quality leagues we have,” explained Otieno, carefully noting progressive clearance of debts both inherited from the former regime and the ones incurred in their tenure is on the focus too.

Notably, in the freshest debt debacle, FKF has been ordered to pay veteran journalist Omullo Okoth Sh.10 million, for defamation in 2015 during the former regime.

“We want to be debt free in the next five to six years. We inherited a debt of Sh. 180 million, and because of court cases that we have lost, it has gone higher to about Sh. 370 million. As we speak FIFA is directing all our normal grants to paying Adel (Amrouche – former Harambee Stars coach). We are paying him 89 million because we had already paid 20 million before. We have painfully done this to avoid Kenya being locked out of World Cup qualifiers. These are some of the issues we want to ensure we settle so that one day we are able to report in an AGM like today’s that we owe no one and maybe register surplus,” elucidated Otieno.

The meeting was attended by 80 out of the 86 delegates, among them representatives of the 45 FKF branches and FKF Premier League, National Super League, Division One League Clubs, FKF Women Premier League and FKF Women Division One clubs.

The delegates unanimously approved financial statements for the last financial year and also passed the current year budget totaling over Sh. 4 billion.

No new admission of members took place, neither were there any dismissals.