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National women’s football team could miss out on AWCON

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) could find itself between a rock and a hard place as participation of Harambee Stars and Harambee Starlets in the men and women versions of the Africa Cup of Nations respectively hang in the balance over lack of funds.

Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is the major bottleneck in the impending no-show of the two teams in the biennial showcase over the Sports Fund the tax collectors are holding and which has also affected volleyball and rugby

FKF President Nick Mwendwa said the Sports Ministry said it could not fully finance the two teams, which require a substantial budget to participate in the event, hence the decision to rely on the Sports Funds kitty.

Mwendwa said FKF has already approached sponsors most of who want to see what the federation would get from the national kitty before partnering with the federation.

He made the announcement even as delegate legislative committee chaired by Gladys Sholei put the spanner in the works over the queries it has raised with the national treasury in having KRA release to the federation its share of the Sports Funds.

The FKF chief said Starlets need Sh43 million to honour the 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) while Stars need to be facilitated for the remaining AFCON qualifying matches against Sierra Leone and Ghana as well as the actual finals that are earmarked for Cameroon in 209.

Mwendwa appealed to the Parliament to fully operationalise the Sports Fund, established under the Sports Act to raise funding for the development of Sports.

“I am appealing to Parliament to clear the stumbling blocks that are standing in the way of the operationalisation of the Sports Fund.

This way, we can be able to raise enough funding to see our national teams through our international assignments,” he added. The fund draws its inflow from Sports Bookies and Lotteries but has since its inception not been actualized.

“We took part in the 2016 edition for the first time ever. Now, the players are more experienced and would wish to prove what stuff they are made of and especially given that Fifa has committed itself to donating USD$100 million (Sh100,000 million) in the next one and years to support women football development in Kenya,” said Mwendwa.

He said the participation of Starlets in AWCON was particularly a milestone since they will be in a position to feature in the 2019 World Cup in Paris, France should they be placed in the first three positions in the world event.

Starlets gained qualification to the continental showpiece set for between November 17 and December 1 following Equatorial Guinea’s disqualification having been found guilty of fielding an ineligible player in their final qualification match against Kenya.

The team will check into camp on Monday and will play two friendly matches before jetting out to Ghana on November 14 in time for the tourney.

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