The Fifa GOAL Project at Kasarani, funded to the tune of USD400,000 (about Sh35 million), stands desolate, making a mockery of efforts by the world-governing body to develop the game locally.
The Sunday Nation team arrived at the facility minutes to 11am on Saturday but it was not before our vehicle struggled to navigate a rugged road after branching off Thika Highway, then a black metallic gate appears.
The compound situated a few metres from the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, is enclosed by a semi-detached brick wall. A rusty padlock hangs on the gate.
A closer look inside the compound reveals a deserted facility, evident from the tall grass.
“It has been a while since I saw anyone come here,” says a herds-boy tending to his goats, perhaps wishing his heard could access the rich, tall grass in the compound.
Another view of the compound along the brick wall reveals two permanent buildings standing side by side in deplorable state, the wind occasionally sending a column of dust flying in the air. A few curtains block from public view what clearly are empty rooms.
A second gate located on another side of the compound also has a padlock. One may be forgiven for wondering what is inside the compound to protect.
There is no sign of life at the facility, just a deafening silence occasionally interrupted by the croaking of frogs.
With no sign-post in sight, locals and visitors alike would struggle to locate the facility. Had there been a signpost, it would have been branded ‘Kandanda House’.
Welcome to the official headquarters of the Football Kenya Federation, as its officials prefer to refer to it, the only organization mandated by world governing body FIFA and the Kenyan government to run football in the country.
The run down project is the brainchild of FIFA and is meant to develop football in the country.
“FIFA chose to finance this project in a bid to bring sanity and order in the running of its affiliate federations. In the past, a majority of federations, especially in Africa, found it hard to function effectively without offices. They would move from hotels and other buildings within major towns and at times it would be hard to trace them. This is how the GOAL project came about,” Titus Kasuve, a former football administrator, explains.
The GOAL project is an initiative by FIFA to improve the standards of the game through its federations.
The global project was launched in 1999 by FIFA president Joseph Blatter and ratified by the 1999 Extraordinary FIFA Congress in Los Angeles.
This initiative has since seen FIFA remit monies running into millions of shillings to assist in improving the services of its affiliate federations.
Sunday Nation has learnt that Kenya, being one of the 207 members of FIFA, has thus far received funds for several projects. These include putting up Kandanda House which according to Kasuve cost in upwards of USD 400,000 (about Sh35 million).
The government, meanwhile, offered a 5-acre piece of land ‘for the purpose of football development’.
GOAL PROJECT ONE
The Kandanda House project was labelled GOAL Project One, and the laying of an artificial turf at Nairobi’s City Stadium and Kisumu’s Moi Stadium was part of GOAL Project Two and Three respectively.
The previous regime consisting Football Kenya Limited chairman Mohammed Hatimy and his two assistants – Titus Kasuve and Erastus Okul – occasionally used the Kasarani premises for official matters.
“We handed over that building when it was in one of its best possible state back in October 2011.
“The place had functioning offices with furniture, cookers, computers, television sets, cutlery and many other valuables. The fact that the current office has deliberately refused to use this facility worth millions of shillings shows a serious lack of commitment. Kenyans should be very disappointed.” Kasuve noted.
Football Kenya Federation is currently located at the Nyayo Stadium pool side, a decision the institution’s CEO, Ludovick Aduda, terms ‘a waste of resources’.
“Kandanda House should be the secretariat for all football activities. This means the director of football, various departmental heads and communications departments who are currently squatting at that Nyayo Stadium should be based there. It is even appalling to note that the federation’s finance manager is currently based in the Chairman’s private office,” Aduda added.
Aduda says that Kandanda House has enough space to host the junior national teams in a move that would save the federation finances, while also suggesting that the venue would also be ideal for the Kenya Premier League secretariat and office of the referees to be based at this venue so as to ensure smooth working operations between the various offices.
Meanwhile, FIFA has given the federation a deadline to relocate to Kandanda House.
“Furthermore we hope that plans to move in the headquarters at Kasarani are being implemented as previously assured,” a letter from the Zurich-based body, dated October 7 and addressed to the federation reads in part.
Efforts to get a comment from officials at FKF proved futile as vice chairman Robert Asembo refused to comment on the matter. FKF president Sam Nyamweya had not returned our calls to respond to our questions at the time of writing.