Is someone pocketing cash for Harambee Stars gulf friendlies?
The emerging trend of North Africa and Asia as the ideal locations for Harambee Stars friendly matches is beginning to raise eyebrows among ardent local fans.
This week, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) announced a coach-less Stars will tour Morocco to play Gambia and Comoros in two international friendlies on March 24 and 27 respectively.
“We feel the matches will not only provide the technical bench with the much needed opportunity to assess the players, but also keep our national team active during the upcoming FIFA international week,” said FKF CEO Robert Muthomi.
Interesting, however, it seems easier, cheaper and faster – on paper atleast – for Kenya to face Comoros in the two countries respective backyards compared to travelling to Morocco.
Factor this, the Comoros national team will navigate through 7,213km from Moroni to Casablanca to face Kenya.
The Les Coelecantes would however only travel for 1,423km to face Kenya in Nairobi or Machakos. Still, Harambee Stars will travel for 5,500km to get to Morocoo, and even more considering the likelihood of an indirect flight.
Plus, come to think of it, who will be accommodating both Kenya, Gambia and Comoros in Morocco, and what is in it for this supposed generous fellow?
Importantly, how can these three national teams fly to Morocco play each other and exclude their host? Which fans will be watching these games?
This North African trip comes barely five months after Kenya toured Morocco and competed in two friendlies, drawing one-all against Mauritania, before losing 2-0 to a select Morocco side.
Again in October, Kenya toured Asia and lost twice – to Iraq and lowly Thailand – in international friendlies, results which eventually cost coach Stanley Okumbi his job.
The national women team has also toured Morocco in the recent past and competed in a series of friendlies against clubs from the country.
Could it be that FKF are pocketing handsome appearance fees from these gulf friendlies?