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EXCLUSIVE: How Sh30.8m budget deficit stands to shatter Kenya’s Afcon dream

Harambee Stars’ 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) campaign could yet again prove to be another pipe dream in the long run for one simple reason – a massive budget deficit of Sh30.8 million.

This following revelation that Football Kenya Federation (FKF) requested Sh25 million from the Ministry of Sports needed to prepare for next week double-header against Ethiopia but they’ve only received Sh7.2 million.

The dare state of affair has subsequently forced the local-based players into non-residential training at Utalii College in Nairobi ahead of the first leg match on Wednesday in Ethiopia.

The meager amount, according to FKF president Nick Mwendwa, is only enough to cater for the October 10 first leg tie slated for Bahir Dar situated northwest of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

TEAM’S EXPENSES

Mwendwa is fearful that the team could be stranded upon return in readiness for the second leg on October 14 at Kasarani stadium.

Kenya is second in Group “F” on three points same as Ghana, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone.

On average, Stars need Sh15 million for accommodation, tickets and allowances in each competitive match and to honour the remaining four qualification fixtures, they need approximately Sh60 million.

“They (ministry) were able to send us Sh7.2m of the Sh25m we had requested on 18th of August for Ethiopia fixtures, this amount only covers flights and accommodation. So as I speak to you, we do not have money to pay players and coaches’ allowances and other logistics around these games,” Mwendwa told journalists in a press conference at a Nairobi hotel on Friday.

As if that is not enough, the ministry, who are obliged to cater for national teams across all sports under the National Sports Fund, is yet to release the balance of the Sh19 million requested for the Ghana clash that Stars won by a solitary goal on September 8 at Kasarani stadium.

MASSIVE DEBT

“We applied for Sh19 million for Ghana and Malawi game but the ministry was able to pay us Sh4 million, we talked to suppliers to deliver the supplies on credit with promise that the ministry will sort that out,” a frustrated Mwendwa said.

To this effect, the ministry owes FKF a whooping Sh30.8 million that if provided, could aid the team’s chances of returning to the continental showpiece after a 14-year hiatus.

Mwendwa further added that they earlier in the year submitted an annual budget of Sh889 million to cater for all national teams but little has been forthcoming from the Kencom offices.

“If we had these monies, I wouldn’t have been here. We always make submissions early but because of challenges at the ministry, we get funds late. We are asking the treasury to please help us. We don’t know what we are going to do when we come back,” he lamented.

The first batch of the national team players departs for Addis Ababa on Saturday with the rest on Sunday where they will link up with 14-foreign based players en route to Bahir Dar. They will return on Wednesday night.