‘A national shame’ - Nyamweya blasts FKF for moving Kenya matches to Malawi


‘A national shame’ - Nyamweya blasts FKF for moving Kenya matches to Malawi

The Harambee Stars before their friendly with South Sudan in September 2023
The Harambee Stars before their friendly with South Sudan in September 2023Profimedia
The decision by the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) to host two Harambee Stars 2026 World Cup qualifying matches against Burundi and Ivory Coast away in Lilongwe, Malawi, has elicited debate across the country with a section of stakeholders putting the blame squarely on FKF for not doing enough to avert the situation.

On Tuesday, FKF officially confirmed that Kenya will play their matchday three and four against the Swallows and the Elephants at Bingu Stadium on June 8th and 11th respectively.

The decision was necessitated by the fact the country does not have a stadium approved by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the world governing body FIFA to host high-standard matches. The venue switch came at a time when the East African nation is currently renovating Kasarani Sports Complex and Nyayo Stadiums in readiness to co-host the 2024 African Nations Championship (CHAN) and 2027 Africa Cup of Nations.

Moving matches to Malawi will have severe implications

According to former FKF President Sam Nyamweya, the current FKF regime should be held accountable for moving the two matches insisting they had all the time in the world to convince the government to spare them one venue for the qualifiers before renovation work could start.

The veteran administrator further said playing home matches away from home will have severe implications on the team’s performance, especially at this juncture when Harambee Stars stand a good chance to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in their history.

“The decision by the FKF to host home matches in Malawi has not only sparked disappointment and criticism among fans and stakeholders but also portrayed the federation as clueless,” Nyamweya told Flashscore in an exclusive interview.

“Moving home matches to another country will have severe implications, both on the team’s performance and the perception of the federation itself. Where was the Federation for all this time misadvising government to close all the national pitches Nyayo Stadium and Kasarani Sports Complex for renovations?”

Nyamweya laid down the disadvantages of playing home games away from home by saying: “Hosting home matches in Malawi has several implications. Firstly, it affects the morale and support of the home team as they lose the advantage of playing in front of their fans on familiar turf. This could impact their performance on the field.

“Secondly, it reflects poorly on the federation’s ability to manage local affairs and provide a conducive environment for football development. It will also lead to loss of credibility and trust among fans and stakeholders.”

Nyamweya, who was in charge of FKF between 2011 and 2016, further termed the decision a huge blow to national pride and a source of embarrassment for Kenyan football.

“Fans always expect the national team to represent them with honour and integrity, which includes playing home matches on home soil. The decision may lead to public backlash and further erode confidence in the federation’s leadership,” explained Nyamweya.

“The FKF leadership has shown that their continued stay in office is killing football in the country. It also shows that the federation does not have a good rapport with neighbours Uganda and Tanzania. The matches could have been played there. This is a national shame.”

How did the fans react to the news?

A section of Kenyans felt the decision had deprived them of the opportunity to watch Harambee Stars in action. The last time Kenya, under coach Engin Firat, played in Nairobi was on September 12th, 2023, a friendly fixture they lost 1-0 against South Sudan courtesy of a second-minute goal scored by former Gor Mahia striker Tito Okello.

“It is a shame, yet we call ourselves the most developed country in the East African region,” said Abu Jem. Renowned Radio presenter Joe Gidi posed a question: “Why can’t FKF move Harambee Stars matches to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania or even Uganda, which is nearer for the fans to attend?”

Edward Mose quipped: “These Kenyan people are making jokes, especially the government. They are not serious with football,” while Wilsom Okall wondered if Kenya were ready to host CHAN and AFCON: “Is this the country Kenya that was boosting of hosting African tournaments, planning to even vie for the rights to host World Cup? Imagine, it is a shame, we can’t host even friendly matches!”

Governor Mugambi Bosco wondered how on earth Kenya was yet to build a Stadium approved by FIFA at this age and era. He said: “Kenya has not been able to build a FIFA-accredited Stadium at this age? I believe something is wrong somewhere,” while Otung Jnr said: “It’s a shame for the Kenyan government.”

Winston Richard posed another question: “Why doesn’t Kenya have CAF-approved stadia? Are we not the big boy of the region?” Jared Manyara asked: “Why don’t we have a FIFA-accredited Stadium in Kenya after over 60 years of independence?”

“It’s embarrassing not to have quality Stadiums in the first place,” said Mike Osumba while Eduardo K Jumuiya wrapped up the debate by explaining why Uganda could have been a better choice than Malawi and Tanzania: “Kampala, Uganda is ideal not unless Uganda Cranes is playing on the same venue at the same time. Nairobi to Kampala Ksh 2,000 while Nairobi- Dar Ksh 4,000.”

Kenya's recent results
Kenya's recent resultsFlahscore

What reasons have FKF given for the move?

Speaking on Tuesday, FKF President Nick Mwendwa revealed the difficulties they faced to secure a venue in either Tanzania or Uganda insisting they had also considered the fans when sourcing for the alternative venue but could only get in Malawi.

“We did our best to have a venue close to Kenya (that Kenyans can access and watch the two matches without difficulties), we got in touch with our fellow Federations Tanzania and Uganda but it was not possible to get a venue because they are booked,” Mwendwa told Flashscore.

“For instance, Uganda will have a home game against Algeria on June 11th, the same day we are supposed to host Ivory Coast so it was not possible to get their venue for our matches.

“In Tanzania, they were scheduled to play Eritrea at home on matchday three though the game has been cancelled, they told us they have other activities lined up during that period. It was good to play in Tanzania or Uganda because it could have been near home and the fans could have travelled but we urge them to travel to Malawi.”

Kenya’s opening two qualifying matches saw them play away, the group opener, a 2-1 defeat against Gabon at the Stade de Franceville before they recovered to hammer Seychelles 5-0 in their matchday two at the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny in Ivory Coast. With renovation works at Kasarani and Nyayo tentatively set to end by August 2024, Kenyans will have to wait longer to watch their national team in action on home soil.

Harambee Stars’ next home qualifiers will be a double-header against Gabon on March 25th, 2025, and the Gambia on September 1st, 2025.



France gouvernement

Les jeux d’argent et de hasard peuvent être dangereux : pertes d’argent, conflits familiaux, addiction…

Retrouvez nos conseils sur joueurs-info-service.fr (09-74-75-13-13, appel non surtaxé)

Do you want to withdraw your consent to display betting ads?
Yes, change settings