I Will Solve FIFA Ban On Day One- Ababu Namwamba

Namwamba placed making a phone call with FIFA President Gianni Infantino as his first order of business

I Will Solve FIFA Ban On Day One- Ababu Namwamba
Sports CS nominee, Ababu Namwamba, appearing for vetting on October 21, 2022. /NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

Youth Affairs, Sports and the Arts Cabinet Secretary (CS) nominee, Ababu Namwamba, has promised to immediately actualise the lifting of FIFA's suspension of Kenya from international football.

Appearing before the National Assembly's Committee on Appointments on Friday, October 21, Namwamba placed making a phone call with FIFA President Gianni Infantino as his first order of business in the event he is approved as the Sports CS.

"On my first morning in the office, I'd be on the phone with Mr Gianni Infantino, the President of FIFA, to resolve the ban on FKF and Harambee Stars," he told MPs vetting him.

An image of FIFA offices. /beIN SPORTS

He further noted that he has an idea of the sporting atmosphere in the country, which he admitted was not the best. Namwamba promised to collaborate with stakeholders to grow Kenya's sports to international levels.

"I confidently say that I have a fairly good view of the sporting terrain and I’m not under any illusion as to the state of this terrain at the moment, it's actually in absolute turmoil. I would want to work with all stakeholders to make sports a huge industry," he added.

Namwamba further noted that Kenya is in a doping crisis which is threatening to shatter the glittering image of Kenya as a fine sporting nation. Since September, five Kenyans have been banned for doping offences, three in a span of a week.

Two-time Rotterdam Marathon winner Marius Kipserem was slapped with a three-year ban on Thursday, October 20 after his sample reported an Adverse Analytical Finding in the Sample based on the presence of recombinant erythropoietin (EPO) on September 20.

"We have rouge agents who do not seem to pay any regard to the law of the land and I have reason to believe that they may be part of the syndicate that is drawing our athletes into these doping cases," Namwamba claimed.

Namwamba's Uplifting of Kenya Sports & Avoiding Another Omanyala Saga

On the matter of the visa saga that affected Africa's fastest man, Ferdinand Omanyala, Namwamba revealed that he would liaise with the Treasury to prioritise sports in its budget to avoid a similar case to what happened to the sprinter in July.

"I would definitely engage Treasury in order to return the priority of the Sports, Arts & Social Development fund to its original intention so that we don't hear of cases where our athletes arrive late in Oregon for competitions," he promised.

Omanyala arrived in Oregon two hours before his first race and missed out on the finals after finishing fifth in the semis. The delays had almost cost him a place at the World Championships in Oregon, USA.

On Friday, July 22, he defended the government after Athletics Kenya (AK) revealed that he was to blame for his visa woes, advising Kenyans to stop blaming the Ministry of Sports for the issue, which had seen him miss out on travelling with Team Kenya for the championships on Tuesday night, July 12.

He also revisited the Kasarani Sports Academy project which stumbled, expressing confidence in stepping it up to being the central point of growing Kenyan talent and showcasing it internationally.

Ferdinand Omanyala at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. /TWITTER

"Kasarani Sports Academy is a brilliant project that got stuck, but we have to elevate this academy to the point where it becomes the focal point for nurturing talent in Kenya and unleashing this talent onto the national and global stage.

"Messi was discovered at the age of around six or seven years old. Who is discovering talent in this country at that age?" he posed.