Various sports federations – appearing before parliament’s sports committee on Tuesday, heaped blame on Sports Principal Secretary Kirimi Kaberia over funding problems facing national teams.
Football, Rugby, Tennis, Athletics among other federations appeared before the committee chaired by Machakos Town Member of Parliament Victor Munyaka.
Presenting the challenges facing football, Nick Mwendwa, the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) boss, reiterated that without government support, Kenya could miss two crucial international engagements coming up this month with grave consequences.
“If we don’t participate in the two matches, there is the real risk for Kenya being sanctioned by Fifa and prevented from participating in the 2024 Olympics and the even the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations,” said Mwendwa.
Kenya women’s national team, the Harambee Starlets, take on Shepolopolo of Zambia in the 2020 Olympics qualifier on Friday, while their male counterparts, the Stars, kick-start their 2021 AFCON qualifier away to Egypt next week Thursday.
Starlets entered camp late owing to lack of funds, this even after the federation presented a budget to the ministry. It took the intervention of the Sports Cabinet Secretary, Amina Mohammed, who ordered for the girls to report to camp and begin their preparations.
According to Mwendwa and the Kenya Rugby Union deputy chairman, Thomas Opiyo, Kaberia has been the stumbling block in obtaining funds from the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund.
“There is neither funding nor communication on our application. The problem is occasioned by the PS who doesn’t want to do his job. He has the capacity but he simply doesn’t want to do it,” Mwendwa told the committee.
Opiyo wondered why Kaberia ignores correspondences even as he continues to micromanage the fund, which has a CEO.
“We are always in the dark on why the ministry never responds to our application,” he said, even as he proposed the amendment of the structure of the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund to give its CEO the power over the use of the fund.
“The ministry has become a micromanager of the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund instead of focusing on policy. Why should the fund have a CEO who can’t give out money?
“Give the CEO the power to and let the ministry focus on policy,” said Opiyo. KRU, whose assets fell on the auctioneers hammer last week, is in Sh194 million deficit which includes flying the national team to South Africa for the 2020 Olympics qualifiers.
FKF requires Sh95 million to enable Harambee Stars participate in the 2021 Afcon qualifiers while the total budget for the Starlets to participate in the Olympic qualifiers stands at Sh117 million. On the other hand, AK is seeking Sh91 million to prepare the national Under-20 athletics team to participate in the 2020 IAAF World Athletics Championships which will be hosted in Kenya.
AK vice-president Paul Mutwii told the committee that funds is the budget for the 12 camps to host the athletes as they prepare for the tournament.
“We have never received a penny from the Fund and it will be bad if we don’t prepare well for the tournament because we shall play the host,” Mutwii said.