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The head of the federation reveals to Goal why the opening of the campaign in 2022 will be played behind closed doors in Nyayo
The Football Kenya Federation has confirmed that the 2022 World Cup qualifier between Kenya and Uganda will be played behind closed doors at Nyayo Stadium on Thursday.
The two East African rivals meet in their 77th ‘Migingo derby’ after being grouped in Group E in the qualifiers along with Rwanda and Mali.
Prior to the match, FKF president Nick Mwendwa has clarified to Goal fans are not allowed to participate due to the risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
What did Mwendwa say?
“We do not want fans participating in Kenya against Uganda,” Mwendwa said Goal when asked about the presence of fans under the luminaire.
“We tried our best to engage the government on the issue, but they have insisted that it is not possible to have fans, as it will be a risk to those who participate, so only important workers, including accredited journalists, security details and officials from the two countries will be allowed to attend. ”
Asked why fans who have already been vaccinated can not be allowed to take part in the match, Mwendwa said: “We will not take any risk, I have seen Europe allow such fans to take part, but we are not ready yet. maybe the time will come when we allow them [those vaccinated] to start participating in matches. ”
Mwendwa has further said that his mission is still to take Kenya to their first World Cup appearance ever in Qatar and promised a positive start against the cranes.
“I promised that Kenya will be among the teams participating in the 2022 edition in Qatar and nothing has changed, we are aiming for a good start [against Uganda] and this will get us on track to reach our goals, ”Mwendwa continued.
Kenya face Uganda minus captain Victor Wanyama, who turns out to play for CF Montreal in Major League Soccer, defender Joash Onyango from Tanzania’s Simba SC, midfielder Johanna Omollo from Turkish side BB Erzurumspor and winger Ayub Timbe formerly from Vissel Kobe in Japan.
Some of the big names in coach Jacob Mulee’s squad include Joseph Okumu from KAA Ghent in Belgium, Erick Ouma from AIK (Sweden), striker Michael Olunga from Al Duhail SC in Qatar, Sweden-based Eric Johanna and the Zambia-based trio with goalkeeper Ian Otieno, Duke Abuya and Duncan Otieno.