It is exactly 25 days before the Africa Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) kicks off in Ghana yet Harambee Starlets are not sure of honoring the tournament.
Reason? The ministry of sports has no money to meet the KSh43million budget presented to it by Football Kenya Federation (FKF).
Ironically, there is Sh12billion held up in the sports fund that cannot be accessed as the Committee on Delegated Legislation headed by Gladys Shollei is dragging its feet to give the go ahead for the fund to operate.
A frustrated Sports Principal Secretary Peter Kaberia met several sports federations on Monday afternoon to explain to them the current situation on the fund.
But Starlets will be the biggest hit if the fund does not begin operations in the next few days. The team moves to camp on Monday morning at Utalii hotel but uncertain of whether they will travel to Ghana or not.
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa pleaded with parliament to operationalize the fund saying they do not have the money to send the team to Ghana.
“Our plan is to send the team to camp next week and have lined up two friendly matches before they travel to Ghana. Our budget is Sh43million.
“The ministry of sports has made it clear they do not have the money as they are waiting for the fund to start operations but we don’t have that much time.
“ We have been told the committee on Delegated Legislation are asking questions about the fund and we are pleading with them to get those answers in the next few days and let the fund start working otherwise we cannot send the team to Ghana,” he said.
The FKF president also revealed that several sponsors were warming up to the federation but they are waiting to see how the fund will operate.
Mwendwa added that the federation has approached potential sponsors but most of them are waiting to see how the Sports Fund will bring in the table before them bringing any sponsorship deal on board.
The Sports Fund will be key in sponsoring Harambee Stars games against Sierra Leone come next month if FIFA lifts their ban, face Ghana away from home in their final African Cup of Nation (AFCON) qualifier match and AFCON tournament in Cameroon.
“We have also enrolled for the Olympic qualifiers for the first time ever and we play Mauritius home and away on 12-20th November and the Sports Fund would help the federation in preparation,” said Mwendwa.
Starlets are expected to report on camp on the 29th October for preparation and will travel to Ghana on 14th November three days before they start their AWCON campaign against Zambia.
They are in pool B and will face with defending champions Nigeria and South Africa. The top three tea ms will represent Africa in the World Cup finals next June in Paris, France.
The Sports Fund was established under the Sports Act 2013, and was meant to be a collective pool of financial resources from which all Kenyan athletes and federations could secure funding to adequately prepare and participate in various competitions or qualifiers.