Gor Mahia have been declared the winners of the 2022/23 FKF Kenya Premier League but a 24-carat gold trophy that the FKF president Nick Mwendwa unveiled in 2021 was conspicuously missing from the celebrations. And now, Kenyans are beginning to ask questions about the whereabouts of the highly criticized yet ‘costly' reward.
When Mwendwa unveiled a trophy that many termed less-inspiring and not related to football in 2021, hell broke loose. It turns out the acquisition of the silverware from a Dubai-based trophy manufacturer may have been scandalous. Even former FKF vice president, Twaha Mbarak, expressed his displeasure with the new-look trophy back then, castigating the federation for lacking priorities.
Mbarak questioned the reasoning behind having a 24-carat gold trophy worth $50,000, a cost he said is more than the prize money the league winners usually take home.
Where is Mwendwa's ‘Scandalous' FKF Trophy?
The 2022/23 Kenya Premier League title celebrations once again put Nick Mwendwa and his embattled team in the spotlight, for the wrong reasons.
Shortly after Gor Mahia were declared the winner of the 2022/23 FKF Premier League season, some Kenyans, including journalists, took to Twitter to ask questions about the trophy that FKF had sourced from Crystal Arc LLC in Dubai. The costly silverware was nowhere to be seen in the crowning of Gor Mahia.
Interestingly, the Kenya Premier League trophy that Gor Mahia have taken home is different from what the Kenya Football Federation unveiled in 2021.
The FKF president remains silent over the issue but his presence in the crowning of Gor Mahia as the 2022/23 Kenya Premier League champions has evoked memories of a man whose management of football matters in the country has been under sharp criticism.
In a series of Tweets, one journalist, Egdar Wabwire, claims that Kenya's controversial Vblogger, Francis Gaitho, had obtained documents indicating that FKF had bought the controversial trophy for $10,000 and not the $50,000 that the federation's president touted to the press.
Nick Mwendwa unveiled the official league trophy in July 2021 with a declared value of Ksh 5Million.
However, documents that @FrancisGaitho possesses indicate that Mustafa Burhanurwala of Crystal Arc Factory LLC in Dubai sold the trophy at Ksh 1Million. Isn't this daylight… pic.twitter.com/h4RfnH96Jd
— EDGAR 🇰🇪 (@edgarwabwire_) June 26, 2023
The latest revelations resurrect the FKF trophy debacle, a story that the president of the federation and his team would have deemed forgotten by now.
FIFA Accused of Being Complicit
When Nick Mwendwa dethroned long-serving Sam Nyamweya with 50 out of 77 votes to take over the reigns as FKF president on 10th February 2016, Kenyans hoped he would turn around the fortunes of the federation.
However, it has been one scandal after the other, 7 years into his reign. The 24-carat-gold FKF trophy is only one of the many scandals that have rocked the Mwendwa-led federation in recent years. The FKF President has also been accused of failing to act on corrupt dealings, with many questioning his integrity and suitability at the helm.
Apart from the scandalous acquisition of the golden FKF Kenya Premier League trophy in 2021, critics say FKF is now run like a small shop with Mwendwa as the supremo who makes and breaks the rules at will. The FKF president has been at the centre of it all, often accused of underhand dealings and battling one graft case after another relating to mismanagement of the country's football governing body.
Mwendwa's 9 Lives Amidst Scandalous Reign
But even with these allegations, it seems even the Kenyan government is powerless in taming the vocal FKF president. When the Kenyan government suspended Nick Mwendwa and quickly set up a caretaker team in 2021, pending a determination of a lawsuit, FIFA reacted with a demand letter, ordering the reinstatement of the FKF president and his team.
The government remained adamant, a stance that saw FIFA ban Kenya from participating in football and any related activities, further throwing the already dire situation into disarray. Moreover, since Mwndwa took over, the Kenya Premier League has lost lucrative TV deals. However, FIFA recently lifted the ban on Kenyan Football with besieged Mwendwa back at the helm.
The recent crowning of Gor Mahia as the KPL champions, therefore, comes with a bitter reminder of the 44-year-old FKF President's misgivings. The missing 24-carat gold FKF Kenya Premier League trophy is a story that will be renewed every season and for as long as Nick Mwendwa remains the FKF president.
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 months ago