Harambee Stars coach Francis Kimanzi has joined the chorus of those asking the government to rescind their decision of extending the ban on contact sports until further notice.
The former Mathare United and Tusker tactician believes by extending the ban, footballers in the country will continue to suffer and it will also have a major impact on the performance of the national team in the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
“We understand the pandemic has brought with it a crisis in sports and other fields,” Kimanzi is quoted by Nation Sports. “But if we plan properly, and with guidance from the government, then it is possible to play football.
“Staying for six months without playing is a long period for any professional footballer.
“We have important engagements lined up and as it stands we need at least a month to prepare for them. I am not sure if our foreign-based players will be allowed to come here and play.”
Harambee Stars are due to face Comoros in a double-header of Afcon on November 9 and 17 and they had also planned a friendly against Zambia in Nairobi on October 10.
On Friday, the government through the Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed extended the ban on contact sports, including football, with only non-contact sport allowed to resume after months of suspension owing to the coronavirus pandemic, but in a phased manner.
In March this year, the government banned social gatherings, including sports as one of the moves aimed at curbing the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) President Nick Mwendwa was the first to raise concern after the announcement and went further to plead with the authorities to reconsider the move.
“It was a strange decision and as FKF we are now left frustrated,” Mwendwa told Goal on Saturday. “I still don’t understand why we cannot play football in the country whereas politicians are moving recklessly around attracting huge crowds which are not even adhering to the laid down laws of Covid-19.
“I am yet to understand why the government took such a decision when we even wrote to them a week ago asking they allow teams to start preparations for the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) new season, it is a move which I cannot explain and I don’t understand.”
Others who have raised their concerns include top KPL clubs and the Kenya Footballers Welfare Association (Kefwa) who also sent a passionate plea to the Ministry of Sports to allow football activities to resume in the country.
Kenya started their campaign for the 2021 Afcon, to be held in Cameroon, with an impressive 1-1 draw away to Egypt. They followed it up with another draw, by the same margin, in Nairobi against Togo.
In Group G, Comoros, who started their campaign with a 1-0 win against Togo before settling for a goalless draw against the Pharaohs, lead with four points.