Origi, Wanga shred into FKF, KPL as local players threaten demo

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Feb 23, 2021
  • Kenya Premier League players at the press conference at the City Stadium.(Photo by Shutterspeed)

Kenyan footballers have swam in into the raging war between Football Kenya Federation and Kenya Premier league Limited over the running of the country’s top flight league.

Harambee Stars goalkeeper Arnold Origi,Strikers Dennis Oliech and Allan Wanga weighed in on the league wars, hours before KPL players issued a one-week ultimatum to the two feuding bodies to find a solution or else they would take to the streets to demonstrate.

Origi, currently plying his trade in the Norwegian top division with Lillestrom says most of the players are afraid to talk and this has caused them to be neglected.“

The time has come for us Kenyan footballers to stand and be counted. To demand what is rightfully ours from the so called football leaders without any form of fear. For long, we've been quiet and turned a blind eye on things. For some of us it was because of hope.

Hope that the football leaders would come to their senses and run the game the way it's supposed to,” he posted on his facebook page.

“We have an FA that doesn't respect us or care about us. The sweat we pour on the football pitch isn't being reflected by the kind of lives we lead off….We have a body running the local league, they took, the effort. They have created a league that has a sponsor and matches are being televised. But is that enough?The minimum salary cap is a norm everywhere but not in the KPL,” Origi added.

Oliech said the federation lacked any expertise to run the league. Striker Allan Wanga who plays in Sudan with El Mereikh said:

“It's high time this stopped. This is the game people love and we can't afford to just watch it killed. We used to be the best in the East African region but now we are the underdogs when it comes to football. Players have families and a lot of responsibilities and this is their bread winner. They deserve better. They deserve to live like other footballers around the world.”

Locally, players also expressed their displeasure at the happenings at a press conference held on Monday at the City Stadium.

The players led by Bandari and Harambee Stars custodian Wilson Obungu have been driving an online campaign dubbed "As a Kenyan footballer I'm not happy" with an aim of adding their voice to the growing concern over the direction of the local game.

“We are giving both FKF and KPL a week to sort out their issues failure to which we will hold a mass demonstration involving all players in the country and fans to protest and bar them from holding any public office now and in future,”said Obungu.

"We are the main stakeholders in this game and they must listen to us because if they don’t we will stop playing in their leagues and will see who they will manage. This mess should be solved as soon as possible because our lives depend on this game. If the sponsors pull out today, who will pay our bills?" He posed.

“We are not advocating for a FIFA ban but if worse comes to worse and it's the solution available, then so be it," Obungu added.

Gor Mahia skipper Jerim Onyango said;" We are putting the lives of thousands of players at risk here and if we don’t solve this, then we are slowly killing our football.”

The players also slammed the recently former Kenya Footballers Welfare Association (KEFWA) led by chairman Nicholas Muyoti for keeping quiet in the middle of the storm and doing nothing to fight for their rights. They threatened to form a new players' caucus in the event KEFWA continues in its inactivity.

Among other players who attended the presser were Antony Kimani of Bandari, Joseph Shikokoti and Wycliffe Kasaya of AFC Leopards and Jerry Santo of Gor Mahia as well as Mungai Kiongera and Joshua Oyoo of KCB.