The Ministry of Sports has confirmed that the government will fund Harambee Stars preparations for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), but is non-committal about when the players will receive the Sh50 million promised by Deputy President William Ruto.
It is also not clear whether the bus that was promised to the team after winning the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup in December 2017 will be handed over this year.
Speaking to journalists at the Teleposta Towers on Friday, Sports Principal Secretary Kirimi Kaberia confirmed that a budget of Sh242 million has been set aside for Harambee Stars’ Afcon preparations.
With this money, Kaberia said the government will cater for Stars preparations including a three-week training camp in France prior to the competition.
Kaberia was however at pains to explain whether the Sh50 million, which was a pledge by Ruto to the national team two years ago aimed at incentivizing the team to qualify for Afcon, was factored in as part of the Sh242 million or would be handed over to the players separately.
“The government will cater for all of Stars preparations, including the pre-tournament camp in France or wherever else they choose to go. We have a budget of Sh240 million that will ensure that the players get all the support they require.
“I have not checked the budget to see what items have ben entered, so I am not in a position to tell whether the Sh50 million is part of this particular allocation or not. I shall get back to you on that.
“The bus is also still in our thoughts, and what I can say is that government is working hard to see that all of the team’s needs and requirements are taken care of,” he said.
Kaberia also said that National Sports Fund is now fully operational, and that teams, athletes and federations will begin enjoying its benefits soon.
“The Sports Fund, which is now about to transition into the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund, is now fully constituted. We have already had a number of meetings and all plans are underway to make if fully operational. In the coming months, teams will begin enjoying the benefits,” he said.
Kaberia was flanked by the new Sports Fund Chief Executive officer Mark Wambugu, the CEO of the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) Japhter Rugut and the Director General of Sports Kenya Pius Metto.
Harambee Stars are scheduled to feature in the 2019 Afcon from June 21 in Egypt, and Football Kenya Federation has identified France as an ideal training ground in preparations for the tournament.