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Inside sport: The Kenyan example

Felton Kamambo

KENYA has come to terms with their ban from international football and reinstated the suspended Kenyan Football Federation board as demanded by Fifa.

This is a step towards a return to international football following an isolation that has hit not only their senior national team, the Harambe Stars, but also junior and women’s teams as well.

Also hit by the ban are the country’s top teams like Go Mahia and AFC Leopards who have also been barred from taking part in the Caf Confederation Cup and the Caf Champions League.

The sports ministry, however, has made it clear that they will continue with their investigations into corruption allegations leveled against the reinstated KFF board.

Kenya, along with Zimbabwe, were banned from international football following what Fifa deemed government interference in the running of football.

In the Zimbabwean case, the Sports and Recreation Commission was deemed to be on the wrong side by Fifa after they suspended the Zifa board led by Felton Kamambo.

Fifa has demanded that Zimbabwe reinstates the Kamambo board which the SRC has refused to do, but which Kenya has finally agreed to do.

Although power is in the hands of the SRC, the Kenyan example has shown that there is no way back to international football unless Zimbabwe bows down to Fifa demands to reinstate Kamambo and others.

Whatever Zimbabwe is trying to do will not go anywhere unless the country bows to the demands by Fifa to reinstate Kamambo as Zimbabwe football’s headmaster.

Already, Zimbabwe has been hit by the Fifa sanctions after the southern African country was thrown out of Afcon and Chan 2023 while FC Platinum will not take part in the Caf Champions League.

Only last week, Zimbabwe did not take part in the first ever Caf Schools Football Championship after the country was not invited for this historic competition.

Fine. The SRC has made it clear that they are taking this time to cleanse Zimbabwean football by pushing out Kamambo, but what they are forgetting is that Fifa will still insist on Kamambo’s reinstatement even after two, three or so years.

The solution at the moment is to swallow our pride and follow the Kenyan example and allow Kamambo to complete his term and remove him using the right channels.

If Zimbabwe had not been arrogant all along, Kamambo would now be nearing the completion of his term and Zimbabwe would have been in Chan and Afcon while the junior teams would have been competing with those of other nations.

It is now eight months since Zimbabwe was banned from international football, but all allegations against Kamambo are still to be proven and nothing serious seems to have also come out of the Restructuring Committee.

As we look forward to the future, we also need to reflect on how much we have lost over the few months and what we stand to lose by not following Fifa orders.

Because of the stalemate on the ground, our football seems to be on a standstill as there is no direction as to where we are going although we know where we are coming from.

Without sounding repeatedly boring, the minister of sport, Kirsty Coventry should intervene and bring Kamambo, and the SRC on a round table discussion to map the way forward.

If the situation remains the same, by the time Zimbabwe returns to international football, the country would have been overtaken by the likes of Seychelles, Mauritius, and Reunion.

It’s good to do the right thing right now rather than wait until the time Lesotho would have overtaken us.

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