- The referees’ boss Sylvester Kirwa has hailed the development programs put in place by the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) under the leadership of Nick Mwendwa in the last four years.
According to the referees’ manager, Kirwa, the benefits of development programs at the federation has 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 said.
He has acknowledged the complete change in the fate of the local referees 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 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,” Kirwa noted.
Kirwa also noted the male counterpart saying, the number of men’s elite referees has 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.
These significant developments claimed by the referee boss were also confirmed by Richard Obare a member of the referee’s committee who said more than 2000 referees have been trained in the last four years.
Margrate Omondi a Fifa instructor noted that she is happy that many women referees are now officiating in the KPL.
“Before that, we had just a few women at the top. But now there is no difference as more and more women are handling the KPL. Furthermore, men and women are getting an equal number of matches,” Omondi said.
As the Kenya Football prepares for the elections, Mwendwa will face stiff opposition from former FKF president Sam Nyamweya, ex-Cecafa boss Nicholas Musonye, Hebert Mwachiro, former Gor Mahia CEO Omondi Aduda and Sammy Shollei as he seeking to defend his seat.