Article by Winnie kabintie
Kenya’s football has been on a sick bed for a long time that Kenyans, who happen to be so passionate about football, have almost given up on the possibility of local football ever thriving and have been reduced to mere spectators of foreign leagues.
It has been a long cry by Kenyans to see football in the country flourish but this has proven elusive over the years thanks to poor management. The Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has remained redundant in its mandate with nothing much to show for other than a myriad of corruption scandals.
With the FKF national polls set for November 13, IT guru and Kariobangi Sharks founder/chairman Nick Mwendwa, who is vying for FKF’s presidency, believes that he has what it takes to “bring back the game and get Kenya playing again”.
GROW TOURNAMENTS AND LEAGUES AT THE GRASSROOT LEVEL
Nick Mwendwa says that he’s running on three pillars with his biggest agenda being nurturing grass root football, which he believes is the key root to revolutionising the game. He aspires to grow tournaments and leagues in the grass root level.
“We want to get Kenya playing again; that’s our mantra, Kenya was playing in the late 80’s, we want to get us playing again, not necessary in the same way but through revitalizing grass root football,”.
He maintains for players to thrive there has to be coaches, pointing out that the global standard is to train a coach for every 16 players.
“In any school, you must have teachers who will teach children so we will train more coaches. Our target is to have a coach for every 50 players so that in every village or small town, there are coaches in that ratio.
COMMERCIALIZING THE FINANCIAL ASPECT OF KENYA’S FOOTBALL
If elected, Nick says that he will inject new financial ideas in order to move the football economy injection in the next four years to about sh1.5 B annually up from the current sh350 M, an aspect that will go along away in enabling more investment in all the aspects of the game.
“The bloodline of the game is financial so that’s an aspect we cannot afford to overlook,” He says.
This he says will be made possible by looking at the various financial components of the federation; sponsorships, pay-tv, free to air, internet protocol TV, betting, mobile etc., which will be sold to the best suited sponsor in order to get the most suited exploiters, in order to get the most value out of it.
“Today we have sponsors for Kenya Premier League (KPL) but then we don’t have football at the grass root levels so we don’t have a product today that we can take and sell to a corporate for grass root football. We only have a property for the top leagues but we have not created other properties that are valuable, we have the Gotv, which is a cup for the top leagues and we have the KPL and so the first thing we will do is create more products, which will include A County Champions Cup,” Nick said.
RESTRUCTURING LEAGUES AND IMPROVING PLAYER WELFARE
Nick says that his leadership will work on streamlining the leagues in order to make them lean and will work on a definite promotion and relegation criteria that will be public so that there’s no longer a grey area in the matter.
Improving player welfare is also top on Nick’s agenda. He aims to among other things define and set a limit for player salaries, institute medical insurance covers for players and standard contracts.
In a body that has been marked by poor management and corruption, how does Nick Mwendwa aim to be different from his predecessors?
“We cannot achieve this without proper governance, which starts with integrity and accountability so that everything is done above board. We will have a standard procurement and disposal procedure, how much each official earns will be public. We also aim to have order and planning so that everything that we do is planned in advance to avoid any chaos,” he said.
“Every system is as good as its people,” Nick maintains, saying that his leadership will strive to attract the best professionals in order to have the best and powerful secretariat running the federation’s daily affairs.
Nick Mwendwa will be facing off the incumbent president Sam Nyamweya, Sammy Shollei, Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier, Tom Alila and former Youth Fund boss Gor Semelang’o for FKF presidency.
He calls for fairness in the upcoming elections and appeals to the electoral board to take over the process of vetting of clubs to ensure that the delegates who will vote are legit because the federation is already trying to tinker with the delegates.