Kenya: State Moves to Cushion Footballers From COVID-19 Effects

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The government is considering cushioning local footballers who currently are struggling to make ends meet as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Kenyan football is at a standstill, in the wake of an order by Sports CS Amina Amina Mohamed for the closure of all sports facilities in a bid to curb the spread of the Covid-19.

Consequently, all football matches in the country have been indefinitely stopped, leading to a loss of revenue to players, coaches, referees and other stakeholders.

Since, there has been a continuous call for the government to help footballers survive.

"FKF has held talks with the government severally to discuss how to support the government," said a statement from Football Kenya Federation late Tuesday.

"The Ministry of Sports has urgently requested us to furnish them with the names of 25 players and five officials of the clubs participating in the National Leagues, i.e the Kenyan Premier League, Women Premier League, National Super League, and FKF Division one leagues for both men and women," the statement further said.

The development comes on the day Harambee Stars strikers Michael Olunga and Allan Wanga appealed to the government to bail out athletes in the same way it did to artistes.

"I have played in the Kenyan Premier League for Gor Mahia in 2015 and it was a very tough experience," explained Olunga, who now plies his trade in Japan.

"There was a time we went for two months without salary. I am trying to imagine the situation at the moment where the footballers cannot go to the field and cannot get bonuses from playing games. It is also very difficult for them if you consider the players do not get a good salary. Then it means it is very hard for them to survive during this period. My plea to the government is to try and consider the athletes because they do a physical job and at the end of the day also have to try and put food on the table."

Olunga's thoughts were echoed by Wanga, who is among the top marksmen in the local football league and is currently attached to Kakamega Homeboyz.

"This is the point where players fall into depression," explained Wanga.

"In Kenya, players earn very little between Sh30,000 and Sh60,000 yet some are in Kakamega but their families are in Nairobi. It isn't easy. The government should look for ways of addressing the players welfare if the situation doesn't improve in the next few weeks."

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