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Kenya risks Fifa’s sanction as continental football politics gets ugly

Fifa has opened disciplinary proceedings against Kenya and other Cecafa member nations for featuring “in an unsanctioned tournament.”

The matter revolves around the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup hosted in Ethiopia in late 2015, a competition which Fifa says it didn’t approve, a view which Cecafa secretary general Nicholas Musonye and the body’s former President Leodgar Tenga dispute.

“We followed the same procedure (in staging the Ethiopia tournament) by doing what we have been doing since 1926. We spoke to Caf,” Musonye saids.

On Thursday, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) confirmed the possible sanctions from Fifa through a published statement.

“The world football governing body has disclosed that its Disciplinary Committee that is scheduled to meet on March 15, 2017 will analyze the matter with regard to a possible violation of regulations and decide on a possible imposition of sanctions against the Kenyan FA,” FKF’s Communication Manager, Barry Otieno, said in the statement.

SOLE CHALLENGER

Incidentally, the sanctioning letter arrived hours before Fifa president Gianni Infantinno made a published visit to Uganda.

However, a number of stakeholders who spoke to Nairobi News off the record believe Fifa’s actions are a way of arm-twisting Cecafa members to sideline Caf President Issa Hayatou ahead of the continental body’s general elections slated for Addis Ababa next month.

The other logical explanation to this standoff could be political, with close sources in the know suggesting Fifa “want Hayatou out of office by all means”, and are thus reprimanding Cecafa, whose members have been warming up to the Octogenarian’s re-election.

Already, Cosafa – which consists 15 federations from the Southern Africa bloc – have openly declared their support of Madagascar FA president, Ahmad Ahmad, who is Hayatou’s sole challenger.