Ruto pledges Sh50 million if Stars qualify for Africa Cup of Nations
The government has given a pledge of Sh50 million to Harambee Stars players if they qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations in 2019, Deputy President William Ruto has said.
The Deputy President, at the same time, said the Government would use sporting activities to unite the country.
Ruto said to boost the morale of the players and promote sporting activities in the country; more efforts were being made to fix issues of football once and for all.
“If you qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations, the Government will give you Shs 50million. We will talk about the rest when we reach there,” said Ruto.
Hosting the Harambee Stars players for a breakfast meeting at his Karen office, Nairobi, the Deputy President said the Government has come up with an elaborate programme to promote football beginning from the grassroots to enable players develop their talents early.
The meeting, which was, attended Sports CS Hassan Wario and President of Football Kenya Federation (FKF), Nick Mwendwa, comes in the wake of the win by Harambee Starts last Sunday against Zanzibar in CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup held at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos County.
The team received Sh5million from the Deputy President following their win against Zanzibar.
Ruto said President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed the Ministry of Sports to give Shs 10million to the players ahead of the Christmas Festive season.
“You guys made all of us across the country, from all communities, all faiths and political affiliations proud, as one nation, one proud Kenya,” said Ruto.
“The Government recognizes your hard work and commitment in improving sports and make our country famous in football,” he added.
The Deputy President said sporting activities have greater potential to unite all Kenyans irrespective of their political, faiths and political affiliations.
“Sports has proved to bring together many people and nations. This is why we want to use football to unite our country,” said Ruto.
He said the Government would continue to recognize the efforts of the country’s sportsmen/women who excel in various fields.
The Deputy President said Sh1billion was set aside last year to recognide the country’s sportsmen/women, saying already Sh500,000 has been used.
“Our resolve to reward the winner of gold medal (Shs 1million), silver (Shs 750,000) and bronze (Shs 500,000) still stands as way of appreciating the role played by our sports people in flying our flag high and making our country sporting nation, champion,” said Ruto.
The Deputy President, also said a number of new stadia which were being improved including Kamariny, Makueni, Marsabit, Meru, Ruring’u, Chuka and Eldoret will be ready for use by April next year, saying Sh700million has been set aside for the refurbishment of the Nyayo National Stadium.
He said the national government has committed Sh300million each to Mombasa and Kisumu Counties to embark on improvement of stadia in their respective areas but work was yet to start due some logistical problems.
“We are persuading these counties to ensure the construction work on such projects begin as soon as possible to pave way for the development of sporting activities in such areas,” said Ruto.
Mwendwa thanked the Government for the commitment and interest in has shown in the development of football among other sporting activities in the country.
“We want to sincerely thank the Government for the support it is giving to our sporting activities. We are getting between 60-70 percent of all what we are doing from the Ministry of Sports,” said Mwendwa.
Wario said it was through football that Kenyans could be united as people of one country.
He said the recent win by Harambee Starts against Zanzibar in CECEFA Cup was an indication that the Government was on the way of fixing football in the country.
Giant gaming firm SportPesa CEO Ronald Karauri said the organization would continue supporting the work of the Harambee Stars.
He asked Kenyans not to vilify their players whenever they were defeated, saying doing so would demoralize their efforts in defending their country in the field of football.
“There is hope in our Harambee Stars players this time round. Let’s give them the necessary support as they defend our country in football activities as we prepare for the Africa Cup of Nations and later the World Cup,” said Karauri.
Harambee Stars coach Paul Put and the team’s captain Musa Mohammed were also present.