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FIFA, CAF officials visit Kenya to plot means to revive football

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A delegation from FIFA and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) started a tour to Kenya on Monday, as the country tries to recover following a lengthy international ban last year.

The nine-month FIFA suspension ended on November 28, 2022, following the intervention of Kenya’s new sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba, who asked CAF to consider reinstating the country’s senior national team to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualification.

Kenya was grouped in Pool C alongside Burundi, Namibia and Cameroon, but was banished by FIFA in February 2022.

This followed the disbandment of the Nick Mwendwa-led Football Kenya Federation (FKF) National Executive Committee by Namwamba’s predecessor at the ministry, Amina Mohamed, with Kenya missing the opening two rounds of qualification that resume in March.

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“We are very keen to see the Harambee Stars back and firing. The issue of how they are going to progress in the qualifiers for the 2023 AFCON is a matter that will be discussed by the federation when they meet this delegation,” Namwamba told journalists in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

He said he believed that both FIFA and CAF will be considerate of Kenya’s circumstances and allow them to participate in the qualifiers.

Namwamba assured the delegation led by former Switzerland international Gelson Fernandes, who is now Director of FIFA Member Associations in Africa, that the current regime is not interested in being involved in direct management of football but concerned with creating an enabling environment for the game to run effectively.

In his remarks, Fernandes said the world football governing body that slapped an international ban in Kenya over government interference was committed to seeing the scandal-hit game return to normalcy in the east African nation.

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“It’s important for us that Kenya is back on track and to become alive and Kenyan football to shine again,” he added.

The delegation later toured FKF headquarters in Nairobi and will meet other stakeholders during their three-day tour. ■

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