A suspended Kenyan FA official has exposed himself to potentially additional sanctions by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) after he authored Monday a letter that could expose the Kenyan top-flight league to threats of match fixing.
Barry Otieno, the Football Kenya Federation CEO, together with national team manager Ronny Oyando, were handed a six-month ban each from all football-related activities on January 23 after the duo was found guilty of gross misconduct during an Afcon qualifying match against Comoros.
Despite the fact that he still has one month to serve, Otieno still went ahead to release a statement meaning he is still active in football.
Otieno, FKF president Nick Mwendwa’s most trusted lieutenant in his ignominious reign, may be untouchable after all.
That aside, the statement released by Otieno has left many Kenyan football stakeholders scratching their heads.
In the statement, FKF stated that the top team in the Betking Premier League, Kenya’s top-flight competition, as at June 30, will represent the country in CAF Champions League.
But with the Kenyan league, which started late and was later suspended on March 26, unlikely to have ended by the set June 30 deadline, the federation now finds itself in a race against time.
But in a quick response FKF resolved that in order to comply with the CAF order, Kenya will submit the name of the club that will be at the top of the standings by the end of June.
Although FKF later clarified that league will continue after the said until a clear winner is determined, the pronouncement now exposes Kenyan football to the threat of match fixing in the next round of matches.
Considering that clubs already know their opponents, the teams fighting for the top finish can easily approach opponents to influence the outcome of the matches.
Kenya is currently battling the ghost of match fixing. Last month Fifa ordered FKF to relegate Zoo FC two divisions from the top tier, to the FKF Division One, after the club was found culpable of match fixing. The investigation dated back to the 2018 season.
And why should clubs continue to honour the remaining matches, knowing too well that there will be really nothing to fight for after June 30? Kenyan clubs are not the most stable financially.
After a round of 17 matches, Tusker (34 points) AFC Leopards (32) and Kariobangi Sharks (31) are the frontrunners for the CAF ticket.
Should any of these top three teams clinch the ticket, then Kenya will for the first time have a different flag bearer in the continental championships.
Defending champions Gor Mahia have represented the country in this competition in the last three years.