Nyamweya condemns moving Harambee Stars' 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers to Malawi

© GOAL.com

Nyamweya condemns moving Harambee Stars' 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers to Malawi

Festus Chuma 14:37 - 16.05.2024

Harambee Stars to play 2026 World Cup qualifiers in Malawi due to renovations at local stadiums, sparking widespread disappointment and criticism.

Former Football Kenya Federation President Sam Nyamweya has voiced strong opposition to the decision to host Kenya's 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier matches in Malawi. 

This criticism comes in the wake of the federation's announcement that Kenya will play its upcoming games against Burundi in Lilongwe citing the unavailability of FIFA-approved stadiums in Kenya.

In a statement released to the media, Nyamweya articulated his concerns about the negative implications of this decision on the national team. 

“The decision by FKF to host home matches in Malawi has not only sparked disappointment and criticism among fans and stakeholders but also portrayed the federation as clueless,” he stated. 

The Shabana patron argued that the choice to host the games abroad could potentially disadvantage the Harambee Stars, depriving them of the significant home-field advantage. 

“Where was the federation for all this time misadvising the government to close all the national pitches Nyayo National Stadium and Kasarani Sports Complex for renovations?” he posed.

Nyamweya elaborated on several detrimental effects that this decision could have on Kenyan football.

 "Firstly, it affects the morale and support of the home team as they lose the advantage of playing in front of our fans on familiar turf. This could impact their performance on the field," he explained. 

Moreover, he condemned the FKF's ability to manage local football affairs, suggesting that hosting matches in Malawi reflects poorly on the federation's competence and could lead to a loss of credibility and trust among fans and stakeholders.

The former FKF president also expressed dismay over the missed opportunity to collaborate with neighboring countries like Uganda and Tanzania, which could have potentially hosted the matches.

 "It also shows that the federation does not have a good rapport with its neighbours Uganda and Tanzania. The matches could have been played there. This is a national shame," Nyamweya stated.

In light of the situation, Kenya's national pride and the integrity of its football representation are at stake, according to Nyamweya. 

"Fans expect the national team to represent them with honor and integrity, which includes playing home matches on home soil," he added.

Despite these challenges, the Kenyan team remains a strong competitor in their World Cup qualifying group. 

After a 2-1 defeat to Gabon last November, Kenya bounced back by thrashing Seychelles 5-0. The standings in Group F are still competitive, with both Cote d'Ivoire and Gabon leading the group with six points each, followed closely by Kenya and Burundi with three points each.

The nine group winners from the qualifiers will directly qualify for the World Cup while the four best runners-up will enter a playoff round to compete for a spot in the inter-confederation playoffs.

Follow us on X (Twitter) for more updates