Sam Nyamweya finally calls it quits
Sam Nyamweya finally calls it quits
Long serving Football Kenya Federation President Sam Nyamweya has finally thrown in the towel and will not be defending his seat during this afternoon's elections.
In a farewell speech, Nyamweya wrote;
“Distinguished delegates, fellow candidates; ladies and gentlemen. May I pay special tribute to the Ad-Hoc FKF Electoral Board and the Electoral Bureau, the Institute for Education on Democracy (IED) for conducting a very smooth election so far despite facing numerous challenges during the electioneering period. As the polls climax with today’s national exercise, I salute every one of you that is here today for having been elected into office as officials of the branch; congratulations to you and to those who elected you having been successful at the sub-branch elections held last year.
Unlike those of us who are awaiting to have our mandate renewed to serve for a further four years, allow me to take a moment to reflect on the story of our journey so far since we were elected into office in 2011.
We came into office, inheriting a nearly non-existent federation following almost a decade of factional leadership and wrangling between the defunct Kenya Football Federation and the dissolved Football Kenya Limited. You would remember very well that our predecessors did not even hand-over anything to us, a fact that further compounded our challenges in the early days of our term. Yet I consider myself fortunate to have had a very strong team of determined individuals who together we have worked tirelessly to sail the ship thus far. We are so fortunate that we had personnel that enhance our vision with their special talents, talents given willingly and passionately.
At the beginning and throughout our term in office, we continually faced challenges but how we viewed them has defined us all through because we constantly asked ourselves whether to see the challenges as stepping-stones or as obstacles.
If we choose to see them as obstacles, then the challenges we faced could have been viewed as problems that need to be overcome along with all the negative connotations associated with problems. A great deal of wasted energy could have been spent focusing on a negative mindset.
However, we chose to see the challenges as stepping-stones - opportunities that we have encountered along the way for us to use, to step on so that we can achieve more, develop further and ultimately actualize more of our goals.
We opted to focus on one or two main areas to help us define our vision amid diversity as stepping stones and not as obstacles.
As former president of the United States of America, John F Kennedy, once said “Things do not happen. Things are made to happen,” we have come thus far because we inspired ourselves by these great words and we made things happen, the best way we could under the prevailing circumstances.
So what did we make happen, one may ask? Well, to those who doubted our ability it may have as well been a term of little or no achievement but a deep, honest and sincere reflection would lead one to admission that we have a lot to be proud of even though we have also faltered along the way because it is human to make mistakes, directly or indirectly.
Indeed, success and failure, trials and tribulations are inevitable encounters that we all meet on our journey through life yet great achievements that leave that indelible mark in the world are a result of patience, which takes commitment and comes with plenty of failure along the way.
The urgency to restructure operations to enable the federation deliver on its mandate to manage the game was a priority we undertook, in addition to reform the league System to ensure the game could be played meaningfully at all the levels. Today, we have succeeded in that endeavour and have a transformative national secretariat and a league System of seven tiers with the ward league as the lowest level. We have the top two divisions having broadcast sponsors, a milestone never achieved before.
There is no more friction between the leagues and the federation following our signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Kenyan Premier League to provide the framework within which to operate.
Colleagues, our women football was a forgotten area of our game which we have successfully revived and currently have established two divisions of the women league. The Harambee Starlets, who were never ranked by FIFA, have now broken into the bracket of high-fliers. To attest to this, they just missed the 2016 Olympic Games after narrowly losing to South Africa, something we are all proud of and a learning curve that we will build on long into the future.
Fellow Kenyans, our sponsorship portfolio was thin and almost a sham when we took over in 2011 but we have worked very hard to transform the financial fortunes of the federation through corporate partnership, despite the negativity we have faced.
Today, the national and county government agencies are close partners of FKF and we have a bigger list of corporate partners.
The National teams are now fully financed by the national government through the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts, albeit with some teething problems but that is progress we must all be proud of and grateful for to the government and the people of Kenya.
It requires no rocket science knowledge or expertise to appreciate that today; we are ranked in the top 100 in the world order of FIFA merit. It is noteworthy that it is during my term that we have had all allowances and national camp expenses settled up to date despite extremely turbulent times.
Ladies and gentlemen, technical training and capacity building are critical to the growth of our game and we have, over the past four years, made great progress in the training of referees, coaches and administrators in various capacities. More than 1,000 men and women in the respective areas have acquired further skills under the auspices of CAF and FIFA, a result of which is the historical appointment of Aden Marwa for the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 and others who are now elite match officials.
Davies Omweno is now on course as a centre referee to officiate at a final tournament organized by FIFA as testified by his performance at the just-concluded African Nations Championship (CHAN) where he was in charge of five matches, including the explosive semi-final between the DRC and Guinea.
Our coaches, too, are top on the list of CAF instructors and we are in the process of developing a coaching standard for our leagues as part of the greater development of our game.
We must pat ourselves on the back for reclaiming the CECAFA title for the fits time in 12 years when we perfectly gifted Kenyans on the occasion of the Jubilee anniversary of our independence with the regional title, won at home in 2013. I am very happy that this happened during my term.
Distinguished delegates, today our country is the designated host for the CHAN 2018, the first time ever that we will be hosting a final tournament of a CAF championship. It is only fair that the country acknowledges that without intense lobbying by me and other friends at CAF, this could not have been possible; and while the naysayers would wish to downplay this great achievement, I cannot shy away from proclaiming credit for this unprecedented milestone, and deservedly so.
Did we face any difficult situation or did the tide hit us hard at times? The obvious answer is in the affirmative and I stand here today to share my disappointment that sometimes, our common aspiration to serve with diligence was let betrayed by some whom we entrusted with the responsibility to work for the good of the game.
I admit my heavy heart towards some seated amongst us here who let me down by working against the interest of progress and development of our game.
There are times that I believe we stopped listening to each other, failed to respond or react whenever we were required to do so and the end of it was getting frustrated with each other, and we forcing some of us to take unmerited action and unusual steps that affected us negatively.
This is not, I repeat not, the way to do things. Progress or positive change comes from listening, learning, caring and conversation. We have to respect each other enough to stop yelling at each other and start listening, and quit intimidating each other.
Unfortunately, there are times we failed to uphold those principles and I just want to stand before you today, and take full responsibility for this frustration, and for the mistakes that have occurred during my term.
Today, you the delegates of this esteemed General Meeting, have the chance to make choices on who becomes the president of Football Kenya Federation and those to serve with him in the Executive Committee. I urge you to see this as a privilege and not as an undeniable right that is so often so easily taken for granted.
I challenge you to be aware that a lot more needs to be done in the coming term to spur further growth of the game and you must therefore rise above the politics of the day to choose a leadership that will embrace the ideals of things worth striving for, worth fighting for despite the setbacks and failure because football must move forward.
Those you elect today must be women and women who are dedicated and committed to defining the FKF vision; with the ability to draw on the tried-and-tested experience and hold onto what works, while introducing new thinking and approaches where feasible so that we stop what is not working.
I advise that we go for those that promise less and deliver more because if we keep our vision simple yet goal focused - then we will have turned defining our vision into a stepping-stone, one which we will use to reach even greater heights.
FKF is not perfect, we will keep working on that and there is no doubt that it is a great institution. But we do still face obstacles. I suppose it is just like spending a day on the beach is magical and amazing. Yet, there is also the sunburn, the scratchy sand in your costume, cold water and hot sand. We can look for the obstacles and it will spoil our day at the beach. Or we can look for the stepping-stones - and it will be magical; how I wish that we go for the latter in our bid to make FKF that special institution that will be adored by all.
Dear friends, distinguished delegates; I have done my part throughout my service as secretary General of then Kenya Football Federation (1996 – 2000), as Secretary General of CECAFA and now as the first President of FKF and the record is there for all to see but there comes a time to make critical decisions. That time, dear friends, has come and I have to make a call – a call to hand over active leadership of football and oversee a smooth transition.
I have made this decision out of love for the game, the passion and appreciation that no good leader should be pushed to give up power and that; while I may still possess the energy and drive to lead FKF, there may be others with fresh vigour and charisma to take over and my input would be much more relevant in alternative spheres of service.
I have thought greatly about this decision, and it's the right thing to do. I am sure that the reaction to this announcement will bring joy to some and anger to others but allow me address myself to why this is so important at this time.
Through deep personal reflection, consultation with my family, friends and stakeholders of the beautiful game have led me to making this decision to focus on serving my country in other capacities yet I will be available to offer my support and advise to those that I will be handing over the mantle to.
My family needs me now, more than ever, especially my daughter who is bravely battling a medical condition and my businesses demand for my greater attention than before.
To the football family, comprising of the players, referees, coaches, administrators and other stakeholders; to my friends and my supporters that have been so gracious and have sent me messages of goodwill and support, I understand that you might be frustrated, as well but I ask that we use my exit as an opportunity to advance further the development of football. Use this opportunity to make the changes necessary, and let's focus on changing what we can change today and in the future, and not what we cannot change, which is what happened in the past. A new dawn is here and new ideas will come along but we cannot suddenly throw out the old.
I truly love everybody here and the very institution, and my decision comes out of love, not hate, not pressure. Friends, I care very much for FKF and football as well as its interests, which I hold very dear, that further contributed to this decision. I would like to thank those who have constructively supported me and with steadfast loyalty and who have done so much for the game that we all love.
I dedicate the many years of service to football to my lovely wife, who has been with me throughout this journey and my children who have generously shared my attention with the burden of responsibility to serve Kenyan football – these are the heroes that deserve your appreciation and tribute.
As I say goodbye to active football administration, may I remind us that farewells are not forever, nor are they the end but are simple words to mark the beginning of a transition to other things.
Although I will not be involved in the day-to-day running of the federation, nothing will diminish my desire and availability to support whenever so required and I appreciate the important role that you have and always will play to my life. The FKF family is a fantastic yet diverse fabric and I urge that we focus on the individuals' strengths and use them in a goal-directed function within our organization.
I wish you all happy adventures, fantastic new friendships, amazing experiences and the journey of a lifetime.
One charismatic American president once said "A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on." As a leader of men and nations, JFK believed in having a vision and an ideal to aspire to. But he also realized that a vision, without a plan, remains just that and he displayed the unyielding desire to encourage others to be at their best for the world; conviction in the face of adversity and a vision implemented through a planned sequence of actions.
I echo the words of Sepp Blatter in saying that “what matters to me more than anything is that at the end of the day, football is the winner.”
In conclusion, I leave you with the Irish blessing that “may the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields.”
God bless you all, and thank you for this wonderful opportunity to serve our football and God bless Kenya.
Another contestant Gor Selemango quit this week and this leaves the race open to Ambrose Rachier and Nick Mwendwa.