Kenya: Panic and Uncertainty Surrounds Pamoja AFCON Hosting Rights

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The anticipation and excitement around the hosting rights for the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) have been overshadowed by the looming crisis within the Football Kenya Federation (FKF). Football stakeholders have issued a stern warning that the sport in Kenya is facing the risk of collapse due to the current impasse surrounding the FKF elections and the impending threat of a FIFA ban.

The situation has brought into question whether the collaborative efforts under the Pamoja initiative will be able to secure the bid for hosting rights for the prestigious AFCON tournament.

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The Pamoja initiative, which aims to bring unity and cohesion within Kenyan football, has been working tirelessly to elevate the standards of the sport in the country. However, the ongoing disputes within the FKF have raised concerns about the effectiveness of the initiative in achieving its goals.

The direct ramifications of a potential FIFA ban on Kenya could have a detrimental impact on the country’s footballing ecosystem. A ban would result in Kenya being excluded from international competitions, including AFCON qualifiers and other FIFA-sanctioned events, thereby hindering the development and progress of the sport in the country.

In addition to the potential ban, the uncertainty surrounding the FKF elections further complicates the situation. The prolonged electoral process has created divisions within the football community, leading to a lack of clarity and direction in charting the way forward for Kenyan football.

The stakes are high as the hosting rights for the 2027 AFCON hang in the balance. The opportunity to showcase Kenya on the continental stage and attract investment into the sport is at risk if the current impasse is not resolved promptly.

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It is imperative for all stakeholders involved in Kenyan football to prioritize unity, transparency, and accountability in order to navigate through these challenging times. Collaboration and dialogue must prevail to ensure that the vision of the Pamoja initiative and the aspirations of the footballing community are not derailed by internal strife and external threats.

Kenyan football stakeholders’ statement

Below is the statement from the stakeholders led by Extreme Sports CEO Mohammed Hussein, signed by among others former Harambee Stars captain Dennis Oliech, Luther Mokua – FKF Nyamira chairman among others.

Ladies and gentlemen,Thank you for joining us today (Thursday). We stand before you on behalf of stakeholders in Kenyan football and passionate advocates for the future of our nation’s sport. Amongst us are elected FKF officials, Referees, Coaches and football administrators from across the country.

Kenya, together with Uganda and Tanzania, was awarded the rights to host AFCON 2027—a unique opportunity to shine on the continental stage, invigorate numerous sectors of the Kenyan economy, and leave a legacy that will inspire generations. However, this special opportunity is now at grave risk.

The turmoil, lack of transparency, and a pervasive culture of intimidation, coercion, impunity, and hubris in the top leadership of the (FKF) are now threatening our AFCON dream. Kenya is in the midst of a football crisis: National elections are overdue, and there are numerous court cases, including one that has halted the AGM from proceeding as scheduled. Litigation orchestrated by some of the current FKF officials.

A full hardy exercise aimed at derailing the scheduled elections slated for later this year. It is imperative to note that the terms of office of all elected delegates at branch level comes to an end on the 18th of September 2024. With every passing day, the possibility of holding a free, fair and credible elections get slimmer.

A constitutional crisis looms should we fail to hit the critical milestones set in the FKF constitution on matters governance and electioneering process. Simply put, there will be no delegates to participate in any elections come 18th September of this year.

The failure to hold an AGM and provide a clear and honest roadmap for the upcoming elections is a threat to our AFCON 2027 host status. These elections are not just a procedural requirement; they are the foundation upon which our preparations for AFCON 2027 will stand.

Without a newly elected and functioning FKF office, our dreams of hosting this prestigious tournament will crumble. In a recent communique from FIFA dated 26th March 2024, the FKF was formally warned about a possible suspension by the world governing body following the shenanigans that continue to bedevil the Kenyan federation.

We share the deep concerns of many Kenyan football stakeholders. We cannot afford to let impunity rob us of this golden opportunity. The world is watching, and it would be a disgrace if Kenya were to miss out on hosting AFCON 2027 due to the selfishness of a few greedy, incompetent and clueless individuals who plan to stay in office for life by any and every means necessary, regardless of the cost to the country.

Moreover, the FKF’s culture of intimidation, coercion and violations of fundamental human rights against those who seek transparency, freedom of association and accountability, further exacerbates the situation. This toxic environment, compounded by systemic impunity and hubris, undermines the integrity and potential of Kenyan football.

We are here today to raise the red flag. We urge all stakeholders and this includes the delegates, clubs, Government of Kenya, FIFA and CAF to take decisive action now and make sure the country is not held at ransom by a few rogue individuals who are hell bent on destroying the future of millions of our youth.

We take this opportunity to thank the chairman of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK), Dr. Paul Tergat for taking the initiative to convene all football stakeholders to the table with the aim of finding a breakthrough to this impasse. A bold and commendable step which is most welcomed by all well-meaning football administrators from across the board.

FKF’s top official’s decision to boycott the event confirms their deceitfulness in this critical process. This is the time to put country first; let us not allow this moment to slip through our fingers.

Let us unite, demand transparency, let us make football lucrative for all, and work together to secure our place as hosts of AFCON 2027. Good governance, integrity, transparency and accountability are our irreducible minimums. Kenya deserves nothing less.

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As the clock ticks towards a crucial juncture for Kenyan football, the need for decisive action and collective effort cannot be overstated. The fate of the sport in the country hangs in the balance, and it is incumbent upon all stakeholders to work towards a swift resolution to the current impasse and steer Kenyan football towards a brighter future. Only through unity and collaboration can Kenya hope to secure the hosting rights for the 2027 AFCON and safeguard the long-term sustainability of the sport.

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