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How Harambee Stars players traveled on empty stomachs

Harambee Stars players were allegedly fed on biscuits and juice during their 22-hour turbulent flight to Cape Verde where they crashed to a 2-0 defeat in the Fifa World Cup qualification match on Tuesday night.

The shameful treatment was laid bare on Facebook by Jacob Keli who plies his trade at Zambian giants Nkana FC. He wrote: “Never in my life have I flew (sic) for 22 hours eating only biscuit and juice and then went straight to the pitch. Wake up Kenyans for how long will this stupidity go on.”

We could not reach the football administrators on the flight for a comment as they are still out of the country.

Harambee Stars players moments before their departure. PHOTO | COURTESY
Harambee Stars players moments before their departure. PHOTO | COURTESY

Ideally, operators of chartered flights do not provide meals to those on board hence it was the duty of the Football Kenya and Sports ministry to provide for the players.

Stars, who arrived just three hours to kick off, lost 2-0 on the night -and 2-1 on aggregate- against the Blue Sharks, a result that implies Kenya will not compete at the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia.

Stars players have suggested this defeat was partly caused by the lack of elaborate preps.

The team was subjected to several challenges in the run up to the match, including having to threaten a go-slow to receive their training allowances and airfare refunds.

What followed was another eight-hour standoff pitting FKF against the firm that owns the chartered plane over payments, something that delayed the team’s journey to Praia, Cape Verde by another 10 hours.

Custodian Arnold Origi, who wasn’t available for the tie owing to a dispute with the federation over his travel arrangement to Nairobi wrote, “Compared to what the national team goes through when on international duty, this (challenges faced in the run up to the match against Cape Verde) was just a drop in the ocean.”

He went on: “Nevertheless, Kenyans have at least seen for themselves just a glimpse of what the team goes through EVERYTIME on international duty. So maybe next time the players speak about their experiences while on duty, they wont be looked at as if they were telling stories from a fictional film.”

The chartered plane that took the national team to Cape Verde. PHOTO | COURTESY
The chartered plane that took the national team to Cape Verde. PHOTO | COURTESY

Stars Captain Victor Wanyama also complained of fatigue in a separate interview with Nairobi News; “We were exhausted having arrived only three hours to the game and still, getting to the hotel, having a meal and heading to the Stadium. Nevertheless, we had to do this for the flag.”

At the same time, the Government has extended its investigations into this saga surrounding Harambee Stars shambolic preps to the Ministry of Sports.

Nairobi News reliably understands senior officials in the Ministry offices including Principal Secretary Amb Richard Ekai.