Kenya: FKF, Gor Mahia Clash Over Cecafa Club Championship Slot

Football Kenya Federation and defending league champions Gor Mahia are embroiled in a fight over who should represent the country in the upcoming Cecafa Club Championship.

This is after the federation declared Tusker as Kenya's representatives at this year's Cecafa tourney.

Gor have protested the decision, saying by virtue of being the defending champions they should be Kenya's representatives at the regional tournament as has been the norm in recent years.

The tournament will be played from August 1-15 in Dar es Salaam Tanzania with the draws for the group stage slated for July 27.

Last year the tournament did not take place due to Covid-19 pandemic which affected most sporting activities including football.

Cecafa CEO Auka Gacheo confirmed that FKF have forwarded Tusker as Kenya's representatives though he stayed clear of the rationale behind their decision.

"I don't want to get involved into the criteria which was used by FKF but we got a letter indicating Tusker as the Kenyan team in the tournament. FKF is in the best position to elaborate," he said.

FKF CEO Barry Otieno told Nation Sport that the federation has settled on Tusker by virtue of being Caf Champions League representatives and current league leaders.

"Tusker will represent Kenya in Caf Champions League and are leading the league. We have given them the slot," said Otieno who was at pains to explain how the decision was reached.

Tusker are at the helm of the league on 54 points from 26 matches, four points ahead of KCB who have a game in hand.

Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier has not taken FKF's decision lightly and in a letter dated Thursday and directly addressed to Gacheo, said his team is ready to participate in the tournament.

"We write to confirm our participation in the Cecafa Kagame Cup 2021 tournament slated for Dar es Salaam.

"We will forward the official list of Players and Technical bench who will make the trip to the country as had been directed by the federation being the defending league champions," said Rachier in the letter.

FKF President Nick Mwendwa had on April 25 confirmed that Gor will represent the country in the Cecafa, raising a lot of questions on the sudden change.

"The law says the former champions will represent the country in the case of Kagame Cup and continental competitions, so the slot will go to Gor Mahia," said Mwendwa then.

This is not the first time the federation and Gor's leadership are at loggerheads.

Before the start of the 2020/21 season, Gor was one of the teams which refused to endorse the seven-year multi-million broadcast deal by Chinese firm StarTimes citing its credibility.

This led to the club missing some league matches before the club's Secretary General Sam Ochola put pen to paper on the deal fuelling further animosity with Rachier. The duo have since reconciled.

Young Africans SC, Azam FC (Tanzania), Altabara FC (South Sudan), Le Messager Ngozi FC (Burundi), APR (Rwanda), Express FC, KCCA FC (Uganda), Tusker FC (Kenya), KMKM SC (Zanzibar) and guest team Big Bullets FC (Malawi) will battle for honours in Tanzania.

Tanzanian champions Simba have pulled out of this year's tournament.

KCCA FC beat Azam FC to lift the Kagame Cup in 2019.

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