24 Aug, 12:45
Moments before tendering his resignation as the Harambee Stars head coach, the former French international Bernard Lama, left a punchline that read, and I quote;
“Abnormal is normal in Kenya...”
Many of us laughed off Bernard Lama’s last press statement, and specifically that soundbite, oblivious of the weight and serious ills it veiled perhaps. Since his departure, Kenyan football has found itself riddled in several situations that could just pass for what coach Lama alluded to - And to make it worse, many of such are propagated by those directly appointed, employed or elected to work for, or on behalf of the chief custodians of association football in Kenya, the Football Kenya Federation (FKF).
On August 21, for instance, the Harambee Stars technical bench made public the names of its provisional squad for the upcoming Fifa week, a team that peculiarly featured one Pascal Ogweno, a defender who plays in the Kenya Premier League for Kariobangi Sharks, a team founded and for a very long time funded by the current FKF president, Mr. Nicholas Kithuku Mwendwa.
His inclusion in the selected team raises a serious public debate on whether it makes any moral sense, and goes ahead to further question the unity of the league organizers and the federation in discharging their mandate. The above concern has got nothing to do with Pascal Ogweno being from a club with tendons to the current FKF president, but it has all to do with another reason.
On August 17, the premier league’s Independent Disciplinary and Complaints Committee (IDCC) found him and his employer, the Kariobangi Sharks, culpable of gross misconduct, hence handing him a six-match ban and a Ksh. 100,000 fine to his club for aiding his behaviour respectively.
The summary to the IDCC ruling shows that Mr. Ogweno had been accused of violently attacking a match official, and tearing his card (on April 22), after being cautioned in a League match between Posta Rangers and Kariobangi Sharks.
Today, I write to question the spirit that informed Pascal Ogweno’s call-up to the national squad, this is considering the fact that the decision by the national team selectors waters down the IDCC’s disciplinary action taken against the player, as well as the federation’s stand on discipline.
It’s time FKF intervened to save us from this ignominy; this is given that coach Stanley Okumbi, and his team of national team selectors, have clearly demonstrated that they only respect the literal interpretation of the law, but not the intent at the time of its writing.
Here is the law in question, as read out clearly by the FKF president, Nick Mwendwa, in April, 2016, it partly says, and I quote;
(ii) Any player or team official who attacks or attempts to attack a match official will be;
(a) Suspended for three hundred and sixty five days (365 days). (b) The team that the player plays for will be liable for any and all damages caused to the match official(s).
I’m ready to treat Pascal Ogweno as an untouchable, but only if I’m convinced beyond reasonable doubt, that he is the only best player the Kenya national team currently has in his position, and therefore must be ‘babied’ regardless of his wanting discipline.
Like I always say; we cannot claim to be an ambitious footballing nation, and still stand in solidarity with indiscipline, one must be dropped!