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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Mwendwa urges government to allow return of football

By Nicanor Ndiege

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Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa has urged the government to allow leagues to resume.

The FKF president who spoke at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani in Nairobi, promised that he will ensure that all the Covid-19 containment measures are adhered to during the matches.

Already, players and coaches of all the Nairobi-based Football Kenya Federation Premier League (FKF-PL) clubs are receiving the Covid-19 vaccine, an exercise that kicked off on Thursday.

Mwendwa said they are ready to comply with all other Ministry of Sports and Health demands for the league to resume in two weeks’ time.

“In football, we have agreed that every person who will be handling the players must be vaccinated before we resume the league. We are appealing to the government that once we are done with the vaccination of all players, let us be allowed to resume the matches on April 24,” said Mwendwa.

Bandari, Western Stima, Kakamega Homeboyz, Sofapaka, Nzoia Sugar, Vihiga United and Zoo FC are the FKF-PL clubs that are based outside Nairobi, whose players and officials will receive the jab by Tuesday.

Ulinzi Stars became the first FKF-PL team to take the jab in March.

With studies indicating that someone can be infected with Covid-19, even after receiving the jab, Mwendwa said that everyone accessing the venue of the matches will be required to present special passports issued by the federation, indicating that they have been vaccinated.

“Every vaccination comes with a unique number issued by the Ministry of Health. We (FKF) will be issuing passports to every player and every official indication that they have been vaccinated. You will not be able to access the venue of any match without that Covid-19 passport. Through this, chances of spearing around Covid-19 among the players will be nil,” he said.

Various club captains have complained that players are feeling the pinch of sports suspension in the country, and that the vaccination has given them hopes that the matches will resume soon.

Sports stakeholders have also expressed their disappointment with the suspension of sporting activities in the country, arguing that it will cost Harambee Stars and Harambee Starlets in key assignments.

Harambee Stars will open their Group E, 2022 World Cup qualifiers at home to Uganda on June 5 before visiting Rwanda seven days later.

The Starlets on the other hand, have the 2022 Africa Women Cup of Nations qualifiers which will be held in Morocco and will also be used as qualifiers for the 2023 World Cup.

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