Was Fifa right to suspend Kenya? - The View from East Africa

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Michael Olunga of Kenya.
Michael Olunga.
Sports journalists from the East African region give their views on whether the world governing body took the right decision to punish the country

  1. Good or bad decision?

    Good or bad decision?

    On Thursday, world governing body Fifa handed Kenya an indefinite suspension from all football-related activities citing government interference.

    The decision by Fifa came four months after the Ministry of Sports through Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed had dissolved the Football Kenya Federation office led by Nick Mwendwa in November 2021 and appointed a caretaker committee to take charge for six months.

    In a letter from Fifa obtained by GOAL, Fifa cited the government’s decision to appoint the committee chaired by retired Justice Aaron Ringera, and the move to close FKF’s offices at Kandanda House as among the reasons that provoked the suspension.

    This is not the first time for Kenya to face Fifa's wrath, they were banned in 2004 for three years before being reinstated. Below, journalists across the region give their views to GOAL on whether the suspension was deserved or not?

  2. Francis Gaitho

    Francis Gaitho

    Fifa’s ban on Kenya and Zimbabwe was not news. They had attempted to open back-channels with the respective governments in a bid to reinstate suspended officials, a situation which proved untenable since both cases had been referred to court.

    Both countries face identical scenarios with FA presidents accused of corruption and embezzlement of funds advanced by their respective governments. Thus Fifa’s attempt to interfere with criminal procedures could not be entertained by the respective sports ministries.

    Most of Fifa’s subventions are misappropriated by corrupt federations, with the full knowledge and blessings of the Zurich leadership. It is time for governments around the continent to demand accountability for money handed in trust for football development.

    Kenya and Zimbabwe are ready to walk that path, for the greater good. It’s a sacrifice both countries are willing to take.

  3. Bonface Osano
    Nairobi News.

    Bonface Osano

    The CS for Sports and her advisors failed Kenyan youths. She made the wrong move whose consequences were written in the skies.

    As a leader, you should not be carried away by the noise, but always strive to do what’s right and procedural, the formation of the FKF caretaker committee was ill-advised and will haunt Kenyan football.

    It’s not the first time Fifa is banning Kenya and it will not solve anything.

  4. Milton Nyakundi
    EPA/Daniel Irungu.

    Milton Nyakundi

    My unequivocal support for the Sports CS and government on the decision to invoke Section 54 of the Sports Act in appointing the FKF caretaker committee remains unchanged because I firmly believe in that move as having been necessary and timely.

    I maintain due process was followed as provided for in the law. Further, I state, for the record, I firmly hold the decision by Fifa was unnecessary but I waver that whilst respecting their view of the matters at hand and of course recognising their right to take the position they have taken.

    Fifa, just like the Kenyan government, does not condone violation of any law and therefore in the present case, there is no doubt the world body would allow due process to take the course and those found culpable in accordance with the criminal justice system to be held accountable.

  5. David Kwalimwa

    David Kwalimwa

    A Fifa ban is never good considering the consequences.

    Players will be denied opportunities to play for their clubs and national teams abroad, referees too will be struck off the officiating roster as Kenya is denied crucial funds, to the tune of millions of dollars, for football development.

    Fifa should seek other options to handle such disputes.

  6. Kiplagat Sang

    Kiplagat Sang

    Although the suspension could have a negative impact on the local game, it is a chance for Kenya to put its house in order.

    Football administration needs reorganisation, we need an administration that puts the affairs of players first, one that will be keen on putting in place a mechanism to scout and develop talent that will put the country on the global map in the future.

    An administration that will work closely and cohesively with the Premier League and all the stakeholders is what the country needs. The suspension gives Kenya a chance to lay the foundation that will help achieve just that.

  7. Fred Arocho

    Fred Arocho

    It [the suspension] was long overdue. Kenya needed this decision like yesterday and it is good Fifa have moved to take action.

    What Kenya needs now is reorganisation, our football was headed nowhere and the only way to salvage the situation is to bring all stakeholders on board and discuss the way forward. Kenyans need to come together and protect the face of our football.

    Although the suspension comes with its own consequences, like national team matches being struck off the international roaster, referees being barred from officiating matches, and the Kenya federation missing out on Fifa grants among others, the best way is to use the time we have [during the suspension period] to work on the way forward.

  8. Vincent Voiyoh

    Vincent Voiyoh

    Kenya’s suspension was imminent and it was just a matter of time for the announcement.

    Those in football circles in the country were quite aware of the decision from the global football body, and to me, Fifa was correct to suspend the country from all football activities following government interference.