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    Malweyi: Under Mwendwa, Harambee Stars and Starlets did Kenyans proud

    The Nairobi branch official lauds the current regime for putting more emphasis on national teams in the country

    Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Nairobi West Branch chairman Caleb Malweyi has lauded the gains made by the current office under the leadership of Nick Mwendwa to boost football in the country.

    Harambee Stars qualified for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals for the first time in 15 years but the team failed to make it to the last sixteen, after they came third in Group C, behind Algeria, and Senegal and ahead of Tanzania.

    Harambee Starlets made their debut in the 2016 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations after the current tenure re-introduced the FKF Women’s Premier League and Division One Leagues which gave life to the then dying senior women’s national team.

    The team also closed the year 2019 as champions of the Cecafa Women’s Championships in Tanzania for the first time ever.

    “We have made gains in women’s football, and youth football under the able leadership of Nick Mwendwa,” Malweyi told Goal. “We want to build on these gains in the coming four years.

    “Harambee Stars did Kenyans proud by reaching the Afcon final for the first time in 15 years while the women’s team also did us proud by winning Cecafa trophy in Tanzania.

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    “The current regime also actualised the inconceivable idea of having a junior national team and developed the National Centre of Excellence that harbours the team and helps nurture young players who will then be pooled to the National Senior team, Harambee Stars.”

    Malweyi’s sentiments come just a few days after the referees’ association led by Sylvester Kirwa lauded Mwendwa and his regime for helping them grow.

    According to Kirwa, the referees’ manager at the federation, they have seen an increased number of referees joining the elite status.

    “When I was employed by the federation, we decided to focus on certain key areas: building capacity, recruitment, development, and having more women,” Kirwa told reporters on Tuesday.

    Kirwa says the fate of the local referees was changed completely after the federation managed to secure two critical Fifa funded courses that they used to support them.

    “The result is we sent women referees to the Africa Women’s Nations Cup (Awcon) and the World Cup for the first time,” Kirwa continued.

    “Our two referees, Mary Ann and Caroline Wanjala have also joined the Elite ‘A’ category. Previously, referees used to pay money to attend courses but we abolished these allowing more of them to be trained.”

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    Kirwa said the number of men’s elite referees have also gone up to three with Peter Waweru, Gilbert Cheruiyot, and Davies Omweno joining the club.

    “Locally, we have seen very young referees coming up and now the majority of those handling the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) are between 24-33 years. This means that they have another 15 years at the top,” added Kirwa.

    Kenyan football is preparing to go for elections with Mwendwa seeking to defend his seat but will face stiff opposition from former FKF president Sam Nyamweya, ex-Cecafa boss Nicholas Musonye, Herbert Mwachiro, former Gor Mahia CEO Omondi Aduda and Sammy Shollei.

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