Harambee Starlets’ hope of qualifying for the 2020 Olympics might just blow into smokes after the team’s preparation was halted abruptly for lack of funds.
The Kenyan women national team has been in camp ahead of their crucial two-legged fixtures against Zambia slated for November, but Football Kenya Federation (FKF) have, on Tuesday, disbanded the camp indefinitely.
While making the announcement, FKF President Nick Mwendwa attributed the unfortunate decision to government’s failure to finance the team.
He asserted that the nation will have to relinquish the Olympics qualification slot if the team doesn’t receive any funding from the government in the next seven days.
“Since Starlets played in the African Women Cup of Nations (AWCON), we have been duly applying for the team’s funding in vain. We have incurred debts every time our team has been involved in international duties waiting to pay as soon we are funded, but it has never happened,” Mwendwa said.
“We don’t know why. It appears there is a problem with funding football, yet there is a commitment from the President Uhuru Kenyatta himself that national teams are to be funded by the Ministry. The worst bit is that there is no explanation given why the money cannot be released.”
“It is painful. I see the girls unable to cater for their basic needs and sometimes I’m forced to dig deep from pocket to help them yet they are owed by the Ministry. I simply don’t understand if there is a problem with funding especially the girls.”
“The Cabinet Secretary Amb. Amina Mohammed has already told us everything to do with funds applied for we talk to the Principal Secretary. He has failed to talk to us. We have today reached the climax of this. If he answers us and shows us where the problem is, we will be ready to take the next action.”
He continued: “We have sent four reminders, yet there is no response. This is coming when I’m smelling we can make it to Olympics, having seen how the girls performed against Ghana. Painfully, we may end up being barred from participating in the next qualifiers including for the Awcon.” he explained.
This is the last stage of the long qualification journey with the aggregate winner earning a ticket to grace the 2020 Olympics set for Japan.