Clubs reject FKF’s move to form parallel league
There is a collective feeling by Kenyan Premier League stakeholders that Football Kenya Federation’s insistence on an 18-team league is ill-timed, expensive, and has no tangible bearing on the improvement of football standards in the country.
Ten of the 16 KPL club chairmen that spoke to Nairobi News said that they would rather stick with the Kenyan Premier League rather than join the newly constituted FKF Premier League.
Tusker FC chairman James Musyoki and his Sofapaka counterpart Elly Kalekwa were categorical that they will stick to KPL, saying that they hope the football administrators will iron out their differences before the scheduled commencement of the national league.
“I refuse to entertain any thoughts of two leagues running parallel. If it happens, then we can as well say goodbye to the steps we have taken as a country to improve the level of football over the years. I only recognize the Kenyan Premier League,” Kalekwa said.
Ulinzi chairman J.S Mwinyikai termed the question of whether to have 16 or 18 teams as a “trivial matter”, and challenged FKF president Sam Nyamweya to make the Fifa recommendation public so that the stakeholders can make informed decisions on which side to lean on.
“There was a delegation that was sent by Fifa to deliberate on the issue, and they gave their recommendations. Those suggestions should be shared with the real stakeholders so that we can make decisions from a point of knowledge. On a personal level though, I do not see any positive fruits to be realized from the expansion of the league,” Mwinyikai said.
Muhoroni chairman Moses Adagala admitted that the country’s local football is not prepared for such modifications, saying that no team will take part in the FKFPL if there is no substantial increase in the annual grants issued to the clubs.
“Perhaps 18 teams can add value to the football standards in the country, but the fact remains that the timing is bad, because teams have already drafted their 2015 budgets, technical benches as well as the players are mentally primed for 16 teams. Also, a national league cannot run effectively without sponsors so it is going to be very difficult for FKF to persuade teams to see his point of view,” he said.
Both KPL and FKF released press statements on Wednesday afternoon each giving a separate league kick off date and different modalities, something that has now set the stage for two parallel leagues next season.
The FKF Premier League will however have a hard time convincing members to join their camp, as referees have also thrown their weight behind Jack Oguda’s KPL.