Kenya captain Victor Wanyama has pleaded with the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) to make sure the country competes in the World Cup qualifying matches.
The Harambee Stars are facing expulsion from the competition after they failed to meet the deadline as ordered by world governing body Fifa to pay former head coach Adel Amrouche a sum of Sh109million, for alleged wrongful dismissal from his job as coach, following a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport last October.
The federation was given until April 23 to pay the fine or face Fifa sanctions, which could include disqualification from the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, where they are pooled in Group E alongside Uganda, Mali, and Rwanda.
Ahead of the deadline, FKF president Nick Mwendwa told Goal exclusively they did not have money to pay the fine and they were now waiting for Fifa to give them direction on the matter.
“We have tried our best to make sure we pay [Amrouche] as ordered by Fifa but we have reached a dead-end,” Mwendwa told Goal on Tuesday.
“We cannot do anything now, the deadline is on [Thursday] and we don’t have the money, all we will wait for now is Fifa position, if they take the decision to ban us [from World Cup qualifiers], it will not be the end of the world, we will have another year to compete in the same qualifier.”
The standoff has forced Wanyama, who left Tottenham Hotspur to sign for MLS side Montreal Impact, to plead with the FKF to do everything possible and make sure Kenya takes part in the qualifiers as they want to “continue with our dream” of reaching the finals.
“I think we have a chance by playing the qualifiers," Wanyama told BBC Sport Africa. “But it is true we could be banned by Fifa because of money they owed our former coach.”
The 28-year-old midfielder would be the highest-profile of the players to miss out, but nevertheless believes the Harambee Stars in the best shape they have been for some time.
“It is a shame something like that can cost a lot of players the opportunity to participate on the world stage,” Wanyama continued.
“I want to urge the FKF to please find a way to settle the matter quickly so that we can continue with our dream to be on the world stage.”
Apart from removing Kenya from World Cup qualifying rounds, Fifa could alternatively divert development funds meant for Kenya to settle Amrouche’s debt and also institute other disciplinary actions on the federation.
Fifa expelled Zimbabwe from the 2018 World Cup qualifiers for a similar offence in March 2015, after their FA failed to pay Brazilian coach Jose Claudinei Georgini ‘Valinhos’ his dues.