The President of the Football Kenya Federation Sam Nyamweya paid a visit to the Home of FIFA on Tuesday. Elected to the post on 29 October, Nyamweya took the opportunity to meet with FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, while keeping an eye on the national team’ progress in their latest qualifying match for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.
“President Blatter invited me to come here after I was elected,” Nyamweya told FIFA.com. “We discussed a number of subjects and spoke most of all about the state of Kenyan football. He assured me of his support and that of FIFA.”
The two have long been acquainted, Nyamweya having held the post of Secretary General of the FKF between 1996 and 2000 and the same position with the Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA). “We’ve known each other for quite some time and you can count on my own personal support and the support of FIFA too,” said Blatter after their meeting.
Nyamweya has made it his brief to bring stability to Kenyan football, which has gone through many ups and downs in recent times: “My main objective is to bring all the stakeholders of Kenyan football together. We have had conflict for many years, and we’ve even had two national federations. That’s all come to an end now that democracy has spoken, and we now have to make sure that everyone works together. I also want to rebuild links with our regional friends, especially the 11 countries that make up CECAFA.”
The new chief of Kenyan football has a lot of work ahead of him. As well as reviving programmes targeted at youth football, the national team and women’s football, he is also aiming to reorganise the network of local branches, which have not played an active role for some time.
“It goes without saying that we need structures,” said Nyamweya, expressing his desire for support for his ambitious plans. “We need structures to get youth football back on its feet and we’re going to base our work on a comprehensive programme called ‘The Strength of Hope for Africa’. Women’s football also has a big future in Kenya. A lot of women play the game and we’re going to focus on development.”
FIFA intends to help the Kenyans relaunch their development programmes, and a delegation comprising Francesco Bruscoli, FIFA’s Head of Development for Africa, and Ashford Mamelodi, a development officer for East Africa, will be heading to Nairobi next week.
World football’s governing body is also set to release $500,000 in funding to help get these initiatives up and running again. These funds will be provided by the Financial Assistance Programme and also include the bonus paid to member associations following the success of South Africa 2010.
Nyamweya’s meeting with Blatter coincided with the second leg of Kenya’s first-round Brazil 2014 qualifying tie with Seychelles. Nervously checking the result on his mobile phone, the FKF head was relieved to see the Harambee Stars had confirmed their place in the next round with a 4-0 win.
Understandably, Nyamweya was all smiles as he wrapped up the interview: “We’re aiming to be the first country in the world to have two teams at the FIFA World Cup. Mathare Youth Sports Association have already qualified for the Football For Hope Festival and I’m very hopeful our national team can reach the world finals too.”