Kenyan football officials defy FIFA and launch new threats against Bob Munro
12.04.2007By Marie V. Thesbjerg
Bob Munro, the chairman of Mathare United, one of the top football clubs in the Kenyan Premier League, has reported to the police in Nairobi that he has been threatened by Mr. Peter Ochiel who claims to be Chairman of the Kenyan Football Federation (KFF).
Munro submitted the threat details to the police on 7 April 2007, after he had received an anonymous message on his mobile phone. He later talked to Mr. Ochiel and recognized his phone number and confronted him with the threats. Munro takes the threat seriously, as it is not his first.
“The threatening telephone call and message from Mr. Ochiel is of serious concern to my family and I, including my three Kenyan sons and two Kenyan grandchildren, as the Honourable Maina Kamanda, the Minister of Gender, Sport, Culture and Social Services, had earlier threatened publicly to "organize for Bob Munro's deportation anytime from now,” Munro tells the police.
In March, Immigration Authorities confirmed Munro’s existing entry permit remained valid.
Kenyan football headed for a split
Confronted with the alleged threats to Munro, Ochiel has stated that Munro is the cause of "problems" facing Kenyan Football.
"Munro is the one drafting letters for Jerome Champagne to sign. Him and Jerome (Champagne) are the ones ruining football in this country," Ochiel told kenyafootball.com.
Jerome Champagne is the delegate of the FIFA President. In a letter he urged
KFF members to exercise their common sense. “FIFA will not recognise any decision nor any election resulting from any meeting which would have been called by any other ‘officials’ than the internationally-recognised and legitimate KFF leadership,” Champagne said in a letter dated 3 April 2007 to acting KFF Chairman, Mohamed Hatimy.
After FIFA lifted its ban on Kenyan football in March 2007, there has been no peace amongst the involved parties. In the beginning of April, the KFF suspended 9 branch officials for violating the federation’s constitution. Amongst others, Ochiel was suspended.
In spite of this, Ochiel lead a Special General Meeting last week. While FIFA deemed it illegal still recognizing Mohammed Hatimy as the chairman of KFF, 98 delegates kicked out the KFF national executive office headed by Hatimy and replaced it with an interim committee chaired by Ochiel.
“We have just started the war. We are not going to look back until FIFA accepts our demands. We don’t care whether FIFA accepts our resolutions,” Ochiel said to the Kenya Times after the Special General Meeting held in defiance of Confederation of African Football (CAF) and FIFA.
Unclear who is leading Kenyan football
Mohammed Hatimy’s faction of KFF has called for an Annual General Meeting even though he and Secretary General Sammy Obingo ware allegedly ousted at the Special General Meeting. It is unclear who is in charge of Kenyan football and who will abide by FIFA’s directives.
On April 11, two meetings were staged in Nairobi, three kilometres apart, with both sides claiming to be legally in office. At the Hilton Hotel a group led by Hussein Swaleh, in the presence of KFF executive committee officials Sammy Obingo (secretary) and Titus Kasuve (senior vice-chairman) told the government to stop interfering with football.
At the Nyayo National Stadium, Ochiel displayed a letter from the Registrar of Societies’ office recognising his team and said he had officially taken over the running of football in the country. He said the Premier League would be reorganised afresh.
“We would like to take this opportunity to assure all stakeholders and FIFA that we are looking forward to an amicable working relationship to jumpstart the development of soccer in Kenya,” said Ochiel, The Nation reports.
FIFA warned that a third international ban is looming if rules and regulations are not abided by.
Kenyan newspaper commentators are shaking their heads:
“Our beautiful game needs a break from this farcical melodrama that makes us a laughing stock in the global community. Unfortunately, that break will be a mirage following the current developments,” sports writer Omulo Okoth pointed out in the Kenyan newspaper The Standard.
“We all know about football and politics. We have football politics. We have political football. We have football in politics and we also have politics in football. I think we are generally agreed that any of the above combinations works to the detriment of what is good and honourable. The failures in Kenyan football can be directly traced to the fact that a bunch of political miscreants have been allowed to mismanage the beautiful game,” writes editorial commentator Macharia Gaitho in Kenya’s The Nation.
Background news and information on the Kenyan football saga: