A lobby group by the name Youthful Congress has jumped into the fray in the push and pull between Gor Mahia and Football Kenya Federation (FKF) over the injury of national team defender Philemon Otieno.
The group now wants Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed to ensure the injured player gets the treatment he desperately needs, even as the player appears 'abandoned' both by his club and FKF since he sustained the injury while on national duty.
"Player safety and treatment has been one of the biggest issues in Kenyan sport for a while now. This is a problem that cannot be ignored as it affects the youth and sports sector which has potential and jobs if the right environment is enabled," explained Youth Congress Convener Raphael Obonyo.
A reliable right back both for club and country in the past year, Otieno is said to have picked a knee injury during the first round of the 2020 Africa Nations Championship (Chan) qualifier against Tanzania at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, on August 4, 2019.
He has neither trained nor played since then.
Gor Mahia has insisted it is the federation's responsibility to cater for the player's treatment since he was injured while playing for the national team.
"I wrote a letter to FKF on September 4 on the state of Philemon's injury and they never bothered to answer. The player needs to be treated urgently because he is suffering and is in pain," said Gor Mahia CEO Lordvick Aduda.
But FKF has stated that its not their prerogative to cater for the treatment of national team players.
"Philemon is a Gor Mahia player and his club should give him treatment. There is no law that says the federation should cater for medical expenses of a player injured while playing for the national team. We don't have comprehensive insurance cover for players in the national team, we only give them covers when traveling outside the country for matches," FKF Acting CEO Barry Otieno explained.
The surgery, to reconstruct complete tear of Otieno's anterior cruciate ligament, is estimated to cost Sh500,000.