Kenya facing World Cup ban as Amrouche refuses extension

Kenya national team
No games have yet been played in the Qatar 2022 qualifying groups

Former coach Adel Amrouche wrote to Fifa on Thursday to rule out any extension for Kenya to pay him delayed funds, so leaving the country on the verge of 2022 World Cup elimination.

Kenya's football federation (FKF) has told the BBC it does not have funds to meet the payment deadline of Friday 24 April, with Amrouche owed just over a million dollars.

The FKF were instructed to pay these funds by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) last October.

They have been told by world football's governing body that if they do not make this payment, the result will be exclusion from the World Cup qualifying campaign.

Aside from paying the funds, the sole way to avoid this was to persuade Amrouche to agree to an extension of the deadline.

On Thursday, the Belgian told BBC Sport Africa he has informed Fifa of his decision to reject this possibility.

"Agreement on extension would lead to the closure of the disciplinary proceedings without payment being guaranteed," he explained.

The issue stems from the CAS ruling that Amrouche was wrongfully dismissed back in 2014 when sacked 18 months into a five-year tenure, following a 1-0 aggregate loss to Lesotho in a 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

Amrouche, who now coaches Botswana, initiated legal action that culminated in the million-dollar award last October, to be paid by Friday.

But with that deadline approaching, the FKF asked Fifa for an extension - only to be told "they cannot do much unless the creditor (Adel Amrouche) accepts".

"It is not the end of the world to be out of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers," FKF President Nick Mwendwa said.

"We don’t have money and with the Covid-19 situation, we have players who are stuck right now who haven’t been paid salaries.

"It’s been deaf ears from government - which is understandable because there is a crisis.”

Adel Amrouche (right)
Adel Amrouche led Kenya from 2013 to 2014

Mwendwa said the FKF are "telling our people there’s so much more football beyond the World Cup qualifiers that we can play.”

Kenya has never contested a World Cup but having featured at the 2019 Nations Cup, there was optimism this group of players could make it out of Group E, where they face Mali, Uganda and Rwanda.

28-year-old captain and former Spurs midfielder Victor Wanyama would be the most high-profile of those to miss out.

Competing in a World Cup also comes with financial benefits - reaching the finals in Qatar alone comes with a $9.5m reward, money that the FKF could certainly benefit from with its finances currently in the red.

In 2015, Zimbabwe were kicked out of the 2018 World Cup by Fifa after failing to pay a former coach his dues.

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