Anguish of glittering Stars playing without allowances

By: DAVID KWALIMWA

Harambee Stars pulled off a brave 1-0 victory against highly ranked Cape Verde in their World Cup second round, first leg match at Nyayo Stadium on Friday.

But while the rest of the country celebrated, it was, is frustration and despair within the team camp from neglect and incompetency by the Football Kenya Federation and the government.

Stars assistant coach Musa Otieno and captain Victor Wanyama have openly expressed their displeasure with the manner of preparations, a matter that has incurred the wrath of local football supporters on social media, including opposition leader Raila Odinga who accused the government of “frustrating” the team.

“I have learnt with shock that the team’s morale is low as the players have not been paid their allowances. It is also dismaying to learn that foreign-based players have to make their own arrangements to come and represent the country on international duty and have not been refunded their money. Most appalling is the six months arrears the national team coach Bobby Williamson is owed. The government must not frustrate the team,” Raila said in a statement sent to newsrooms on Saturday.

Sunday Nation Sport understands the players in camp are each owed up to Sh100,000 in training allowances, stretching back to last month when they played Mauritius in the first round of the qualifiers.

Also, senior players including Wanyama, David “Calabar” Owino, Johanna Omollo, Anthony Akumu and Allan Wanga are yet to be refunded Sh100,000 they each spent to come for national team duty.

“We thank God for this result against a top team on the continent, which was achieved despite several challenges facing us all,” Otieno said. Wanyama alongside the other foreign-based players are also discontented by the team’s preps, and especially the consistent request to make their own travel arrangements to Nairobi to turn out for the national team.

“We have always had a problem with preparations and nothing is different this time round. They (FKF and government) have failed to send air tickets to foreign-based players and refund us money we used to pay for our tickets last time,” Wanyama said in an interview that has been picked up by several media outlets in Europe.

Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario, who announced two weeks back that the Government will take over the responsibility of managing the team, has maintained a steadfast silence on the matter. Besides, neither he, nor any Government official were present at Nyayo Stadium during Kenya’s match against Cape Verde.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION