Nyamweya quizzed over Harambee Stars’ delayed flight

By: ANGIRA ZADOCK

Mr Sam Nyamweya, president of the Football Kenya Federation (FKF), was on Tuesday dramatically arrested and questioned for seven hours by the Flying Squad over the fiasco surrounding a plane chartered to take the national team to Cape Verde.

He was interrogated at the office of the Nairobi County Criminal Investigations Officer Nicholas Kamwende.

The Flying Squad had earlier gone to Mr Nyamweya’s Karen home, but were blocked from getting near him by his supporters. They, however, later managed to pick him up after he left his home. In his statement to the police, Mr Nyamweya maintained that he was innocent and blamed the ministry of Sports and Culture for the delayed departure of the team.

The Daily Nation was informed that the government gave the federation Sh17 million last Friday for the trip. However, the team left at 10pm on Monday, 12 hours late, in a chartered plane.

They arrived in Cape Verde on Tuesday at 6pm Kenyan time for the match at 9.45pm, allowing them only a few hours to rest and warm up for the high stake clash.

Mr Nyamweya also told detectives that he had written at least four letters since October to the ministry asking for the funds. In a press release on Tuesday after his arrest, FKF said Mr Nyamweya was not arrested but summoned to clarify what caused the delay.

“Football Kenya federation takes this opportunity to dispel rumours circulating in a section of the media that the FKF President Sam Nyamweya has been arrested by CID officers and currently being held at a police station in the city,” read the letter.

Detectives will today summon officials from the ministry to clarify some of the issues raised by Mr Nyamweya.

He was eventually released at around 5.15pm.

Detectives said they would liaise with the Central Bank of Kenya to establish the exact time funds were released to the federation on Monday.

SAVED FROM SHAME

Stars faced the danger of failing to make the trip to Cape Verde for the World Cup return leg qualifier, but a last-minute presidential order secured the team the flight and saved Kenya from the shame of having its national team miss an international match.

The Daily Nation Sport has gathered that once it became clear that the team had no alternative means of finding its way to Cape Verde, a text message by former Youth Funds boss Gor Semelang’o to the President saved the day.

The President was locked in a daylong meeting but his PA, Mr Jomo Gecaga, got in touch with Mr Semelang’o and assured him that the matter would be addressed.

State House could not comment, but Mr Semelang’o confirmed having made contact with the President and Mr Gecaga.

“Yes, I can confirm that I was in communication with Jomo. I sent the President a text but he took time to respond as he was in a meeting, but later Jomo called me and assured me that the matter was being handled.

“Basically, it’s the Nation online article that jolted me to action. Missing the match would have been an embarrassment to the flag,” said Mr Semelang’o.

Shockingly, throughout the players’ ordeal that lasted the better part of Monday, Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario and the PS, Mr Richard Ekai, could not be reached on their mobile phones, which were switched off.

The Nation also gathered that the cost of the Stars trip was fully catered for by the government, which gave the federation a whopping Sh17 million last Friday to take care of the assignment.

“I was away, I came back on Saturday night and I don’t have facts as at now, but I’m told that on Friday, the ministry gave the federation Sh17 million. That is way above the support we have given any national team. They (federation) should have just gone for a commercial flight instead of a chartered plane,” Sports Commissioner Gordon Oluoch said on Tuesday.

The federation charted a plane from Skyward Express to fly the team directly to Cape Verde, but on Monday, the owners of the airline insisted that they be paid in full before they could let the plane leave for Praia.

Failing to honour the match could have had huge ramifications on Kenyan football — including missing out on the chance of making it to the group stages of the qualifiers and heavy fines

SOURCE: DAILY NATION