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Women’s Premier League second leg fails to kick off

Local football lovers might have to wait longer for the return of the Women’s Premier League (WPL) as Football Kenya Federation (FKF) attributes its delay to lack of funds.

The federation says they are yet to receive money from world football governing body FIFA with first leg matches having played last on the weekend of June 20-24.

Second leg fixtures were released on July 9 but no team has honoured any of the ties with WPL fixtures secretary Doreen Nabwire revealing that teams have “refused” to play without the funds they expected from FKF for the second leg.

At the time the fixtures were released, several teams had their players in residential camp with the national team, Harambee Starlets, in preparation for the Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) Women Championship played in Rwanda from July 19.

“When the fixtures were released, we expected teams to honour their matches apart from those with players in the national team, but they claimed they do not have funds to facilitate the same.

FIFA is yet to release funds to the federation and as it stands, nothing can be done,” said Nabwire.

In March, FKF president Nick Mwendwa announced a Sh750,000 grant per season for all 16 teams, the money coming off the FIFA funds for women’s football development. The global body had released half the amount to the federation at the time with the remaining set to be released in due course.

“The federation knew the top flight was in dire need of funds and chose to offer their support using the women’s development funds before going into grassroots development. This, however, did not mean the teams should rely on the federation funding entirely. It now feels like we made a mistake since clubs now expect all their operations to be facilitated by the federation,” Nabwire further explained.

Thika Queens team manager Fred Chege told People Sport the federation had requested teams to kick off the second leg on July 20 but most sides decried lack of funds and no further communication has been received since.

Thika coach Christanus Otsieno and his Vihiga Queens counterpart Alex Alumira say they are ready for the second leg but cannot comment on matters of funding as the club management handles such issues.

FIFA had earlier announced a Sh150 million annual grant to all 211 member states for the next four years totaling to Sh600 million, a 20 per cent increase from what was previously being given.

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