National soccer team Harambee Stars captain Victor Wanyama has hit out at the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) for abandoning players at their hour of need.
In an interview with Madgoat TV on Monday, the former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder recounted how he had to reprimand the federation following their attempts to dump defender Brian Mandela after he picked up an injury while training with the national team in France ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
“I had to intervene on the issue of Mandela. The federation wanted him to come back home after he picked up an injury but I told them Mandela would not go anywhere since he picked up an injury while on international duty. I told the coach, the head of physiotherapy and president (Nick Mwendwa) that Mandela would be treated here (in France) because they have proper facilities,” he said.
Wanyama added that after Mandela’s operation, the federation was hell-bent on him being flown back to Kenya to continue recuperating, a move he opposed to the end.
“They (federation) wanted him to come back home but I informed them that I would rather pay for his treatment if they were not willing to do so. When they realized that I wasn’t going to cede any ground they let him stay. He later joined us in Egypt after the operation,” the former Southampton man stated.
The Montreal Impact player further castigated the federation for sidelining Philemon Otieno, another defender who picked up an injury during the return leg of the first round of the 2020 Africa Nations Championship (Chan) qualifier pitting Harambee Stars against Taifa Stars at Kasarani in August 2019.
“It is unfortunate that at the time Philemon was injured, I was also battling an injury, nonetheless I called the president (Mwendwa) to try and follow up. He (Mwendwa) told me that he had informed Philemon that he would look into the matter but the defender rushed to the media to air his plight. I called Mwendwa and urged him to assist the player but I later learnt that that was never the case,” he said.
The Gor Mahia defender finally underwent a successful operation after his family members, friends and fans helped him raise the requisite Sh. 450,000. He also revealed that he used part of his savings on the same after FKF CEO Barry Otieno said the federation was too broke to afford the treatment.
“I underwent surgery on my knee on Thursday (last week) and I’ve been continuing with physiotherapy since then according to doctor’s instructions. I am very grateful to my family, friends, fellow players and fans for coming to my aid at the time of need and for their prayers,” Otieno had earlier told Nation.