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Kenya: Football Players Stare At Bleak Future, Beg for Stimulus Package

Elite football players across the country are staring at an uncertain future following the government’s decision to suspend sports last Friday as part of measures to contain the steep rise in Covid-19 cases.

With the top leagues suspended, players, technical bench members and team officials of most teams are worried they will not earn pay thus rendering them destitute.

Some of the players drawn from Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards are now calling on the government to re-introduce the Sh10,000 monthly stimulus package to cushion them during these tough times.

Nation Sport has independently confirmed that all football clubs have suspended their training sessions and most of their players are now idling in the estates with nothing much to do.

Gor Mahia captain Harun Shakava said the government should not let players to suffer but instead allow the leagues to resume but with tougher Covid-19 guidelines.

“We are not training and players are now idle. Most clubs also owe players salary arrears and we are not sure if the money will come without playing football. You can’t also relocate to the countryside because of the lockdown,” said Shakava.

“I urge the government to re-introduce the stimulus package. If things stay this way for a long time, we are going to suffer,” said Shakava.

Said AFC Leopards assistant coach Tom “Gaza” Juma: “The government’s decision is hurting and all players in all the leagues will now have to find other alternatives ways of surviving. Why was sports suspended indefinitely yet matches were being played behind closed doors?”

“It is no secret most clubs are doing poorly financially and it will not be easy to pay players who are not doing their job on the pitch. Let the government take football as a serious profession and respect it. The current situation spells doom for the players.”

Nzoia Sugar chairman Evans Kadenge wondered why the government suspended football yet there were very few cases of the virus transmission in the league.

Kadenge clarified that Nzoia players were part of the casual staff at the parent company and would earn salaries at the end of the month just like other employees of the company.

He was, however, unsure of whether the players will be guaranteed of their pay if suspension of sports persisted.

“How will the company be convinced to pay the players when it is evident that they will not be playing ? To rescue this youths the government should allow football to resume,” said Kadenge.

The top tier Football Kenya Federation Premier League was stopped after round 16 of matches with Tusker leading on 36 points.

Talanta were leading National Super League log on 32 points after 16 matches while Vihiga Queens and Thika Queens were leading the Women Premier League Zone “B” and “A” respectively.

Football Kenya Federation President Nick Mwendwa last Tuesday revealed that they were in talks with Sport CS Amina Mohammed and hinted that it wouldn’t be long before football resumes.

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