Kenya Power Company (KPC) finds itself in a rare controversy with a community club over the ownership of a football team in Mombasa.
According to documents, KPC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to have their team, Coast Stima merge with Coast United F.C in 2014.
Before the two team entered into a merger, Coast United was participating in the National One League while Coast Stima was playing in the lower provincial division.
The merger was to enable KPC have a football team in the top league in Coast region similar to Nairobi Stima and Western Stima.
The documents shows KPC was to provide financial sponsorship and take charge of the management aspect while Coast United would be responsible for technical bench.
Among the original officials of the merged team were Robert Mahaga (Patron), KPC Regional Manager (Chairman), Ali Hassan (Vice Chairman), Christopher Ayieko (Treasurer), David Kambe (Secretary) and Yahya Hassan (Technical Director).
However, the four year merger started showing cracks when the club removed Hassan from the technical bench last year and thereafter KPC terminated the MOU altogether through a letter written to Coast United Chairman dated July 19, 2019.
Part of the letter signed by the current Coast Stima F.C. Secretary, Lawrence Sakwa stated that, “The management of Coast Stima F.C after serious consideration and further to our joint consultative meeting held on 25th June, 2019 in reference to Clause 2 & 3 of the MOU dated 26th June 2014 and signed on 1st July 2014 wish to bring to your notice the termination of MOU.”
This has elicited sharp reaction from officials of Coast United F.C who accused KPLC of terminating the MOU without following the proper procedures.
“We will not allow a corporate organization to use its financial muscles to grab our team which we built from the scratch and dedicated huge resources,” said Coast United Vice Chairman, Ismail Mohamed during a press conference on Tuesday at Tudor Sports Club in Mombasa.
A visibly agitated Ismail vowed to use all sporting and legal channels to reclaim their team, saying the action taken by KPC negates efforts to promote football in the country.
Ismail who was accompanied by other officials, Ali Hassan (Chairman) and Khamis Baghazal (Technical advisor) said they feel duped by KPC and that they have written to the national office of the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) to intervene.
The FKF Acting Chief Executive Officer, Barry Otieno confirmed that the Club has written to them and that the matter will soon be heard by the Arbitration Committee.
In a letter signed on 7th August, 2019, Otieno said “we acknowledge that a case between your club and Coast Stima F.C has been brought to our attention and we have initiated the process of constituting an arbitration committee to arbitrate on this sensitive matter.”
During the press conference, Coast United officials challenged Coast Stima to provide evidence including fixtures to show how they climbed the ladder from provincial league to national one division.
“We want our team back and we have already secured a sponsor. Coast Stima can go ahead and form their team and start playing from lower divisions,” added the officials.
They threatened to take legal action and also demanded for the exclusion of Coast Stima from further engagements, until the matter is heard and determined.
However, the Coast Stima F.C Chairman, David Opiyo dismissed the allegations saying MOU was terminated within the stipulated conditions.
“It’s true we had an MOU with Coast United but we have terminated it because of several reasons including unrealistic demands towards running of Coast Stima F.C,” he said.
In his letter, the FKF acting CEO requested for patience and understanding as the national football body rolls out the arbitration process.
By Mohamed Hassan