The Kenya women’s football team had high hopes to qualify for the African women’s cup of nations taking place in Morocco from 2nd – 23rd July 2022. They seemingly had one foot in the finals after thrashing Sudan women’s national team 15-1 over the course of two legs. The team was pitted against the women of Uganda which was due on 14th and 23rd February 2022 respectively. A win for Kenya would have granted them a spot in the final tournament of the African women’s cup of nations and thereby after progressing further, qualification to the 2023 Women’s world cup. Everything seemed to be working according to plan that was after a sudden withdrawal before the first leg forced the team to forfeit both ties eventually granting the Uganda women’s team a walkover victory and entry into the women’s cup of nations. It indeed begs to ask, why did they withdraw in the first place?
Discord between the Government and Federation
It all began when financial irregularities were suspected after an investigation was conducted at FKF. Sports minister Amina Mohamed proceeded to appoint a caretaker committee for a period of six months to oversee sport in Kenya due to the corruption. The minister clearly stated that no such letter was authorised for the withdrawal of the women’s team and the responsible party must be held accountable for such a terrible act created at the expense of the women’s team. In a joint statement, FIFPRO and KEFWA clearly mentioned that the players were the victim of an ongoing conflict between the government and the football federation. A letter was promptly sent to CAF to review the decision to hand a walkover win to Uganda, but there was no response from the African Football Federation. It is certainly disappointing and sad to witness due to no fault from the team, they were eliminated from competing and months of preparation both mentally and physically came to no avail.
One last hope
Kenya women’s team captain Corazzone Aquino expressed sadness on behalf of the team stating that it was not their fault this incident occurred, and they hope for the best in the future. The players have officially written a letter to the governing body FIFA for help to grant them a sporting opportunity which would give them a fair chance of playing both legs against the Uganda women’s team. There is plenty of time to reschedule the match as the AWCON takes place in July. After having such a high responsibility, FIFA must step in and treat the decision fairly and sincerely and do the right thing by giving an equal opportunity for the team that was withdrawn due to no wrongdoing. They can only hope and wait anxiously to see what could possibly happen. The women’s team can hold their heads high and continue working and preparing for future matches and anticipate no such activity to arise in the future under any circumstance.