Deliver Your KSh50m AFCON Promise To Stars, Kenyans Tell Uhuru, Ruto

Dec 04 - by Erick Ochieng for sportpesa news

Head of State leads the nation is hailing the end of the 15-year drought of national football team at the continent's biggest football showpiece

Deputy President, William Ruto (red jacket), being presented with the team jersey by captain Victor Wanyama when he visited Harambee Stars players at Moi International Sports Centre,Kasarani in Nairobi on Friday, October 12, 2018.PHOTO/SPORTPICHA

  • President Uhuru Kenyatta led his compatriots in celebrating the end of the 15-year wait for Stars to sit at the high table of African football that was confirmed by continental governing body CAF on Monday afternoon
  • The news was also well received across the border with Tanzanians urging Kenyans to give them moral support for their Taifa Stars to join the 2019 AFCON party
  • Kenya top Group F of 2019 AFCON qualifying with seven points, one above three-time winners Ghana and Ethiopia trailing with one following the CAF ruling

NAIROBI, Kenya- Kenyans took to social media to hail Harambee Stars’ qualification to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals as they challenged the Government to assist the national team prepare for the tournament.

President Uhuru Kenyatta led his compatriots in celebrating the end of the 15-year wait for Stars to sit at the high table of African football that was confirmed by continental governing body CAF on Monday afternoon.

Kenya became the second East African country after Uganda to earn a berth in next year’s tournament following the expulsion of Sierra Leone during the CAF Executive Committee meeting in Accra, Ghana last Friday.

“Congratulations Harambee Stars for qualifying for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. 

“I assure you of my support and that of the Government to facilitate and provide you with the necessary resources to ensure you are well prepared for the task ahead,” Uhuru posted on social media.

For the first time, social media users in Kenya wrote Stars and AFCON in the same sentence, bearing in mind Facebook, the most popular networking site in the country was only two weeks old when the team last played in Tunisia 2004.

Twitter, the micro-blogging site that also enjoys wide popularity in the East African nation was invented two years later and the Head of State’s message could not have come at a better time.

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) needs KSh200m to prepare the team for the June 15 to July 13 expanded 24-team tournament next year.

His deputy, William Ruto, promised Stars KSh50m and a new bus from the government if they qualified for the 2019 AFCON when he visited the team in October ahead of their 3-0 victory over Ethiopia in Nairobi.

“Kindly honour the pledge, and ensure that amount is shared only by players, no officials please,” Paul Mugambi urged Uhuru when responding to his tweet.

Other users took the opportunity to chide his administration for failing to deliver on its 2013 pre-election pledge of building five new stadiums.

“If we had the fields, Kenya could now be in contention to host the tournament after Cameroun was stripped of the rights last Friday,” Gachanja Wanduga quipped.

Following the news, FKF’s sitting and former presidents were quick to jump into the qualification success bandwagon.

Top opposition

“AFCON right there. Let’s do these boys,” Mwendwa wrote on his Twitter handle as he applauded the team for the achievement.

Quick-witted users promptly asked him to fulfil his pre-qualification friendlies of organising glamour build-up ties against top opposition.

“We are waiting to see high profile friendly matches ahead of the championship, also prepare the players psychologically. Have a cut out budget and work with a clear time line,” Edwin Gesimba told Mwendwa.

His predecessor, Sam Nyamweya, issued a statement where he claimed the groundwork of the current team was laid during his tenure that ended on February 2016.

“Indeed it has been a long treacherous journey for the team but because of their patriotism, hard work and focus, they have made it to the competition,” Nyamweya said.

“Looking back to their path, I feel happy because this is a team that we had laid foundation over five years ago when I was in office.

“Their success is a clear manifestation that with a good foundation we can accomplish greater things,” he highlighted.

The news was also well received across the border with Tanzanians urging Kenyans to give them moral support for their Taifa Stars to join the 2019 AFCON party.

“Congratulations our sister nation Kenya, the whole East Africa is proud, let’s pray for Tanzania to go through,” Nyakato Grace, wrote on Twitter.

Kenya top Group F of 2019 AFCON qualifying with seven points, one above three-time winners Ghana and Ethiopia trailing with one following the CAF ruling.