Furious Harambee Stars fans express frustration as state-sponsored bus trip to Malawi meets hurdles

Furious Harambee Stars fans express frustration as state-sponsored bus trip to Malawi meets hurdles

Mark Kinyanjui 16:07 - 05.06.2024

Harambee Stars fans who were set to travel to Malawi to cheer the national team against Burundi and Ivory Coast may not travel after their trip was indefinitely halted.

Kenya Football Fans Federation (KEFOFA) members were filled with rage on Tuesday night after their scheduled road trip to Malawi to cheer on Harambee Stars was indefinitely suspended.

The trip was organised to support the Harambee Stars in their upcoming 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier matches against Burundi on June 7 and Ivory Coast on June 11.

A Trip Fraught with Frustration

The journey, a demanding 32-hour trip, was initially set to commence early Tuesday morning. Dedicated fans had made extensive week-long arrangements to travel to and from Lilongwe, driven by a shared dream of witnessing their team’s bid for a first-ever World Cup qualification. 

The planned route involved a stopover in Dodoma, Tanzania, before completing the journey to Lilongwe on Wednesday.

However, on Monday evening, CEO Shem Okotta announced an indefinite suspension of the trip. The decision left fans stranded and disheartened, as Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria, who was supposed to sponsor the trip, suggested using National Youth Service buses instead. This unexpected change threw the entire plan into disarray, leading to mounting frustration among the fans.

Voices from the Ground

Fans from across the country had converged in Nairobi, hopeful for the journey ahead. Their dreams were dashed as the situation remained unresolved. One fan, who preferred to remain anonymous, expressed his frustration to Pulse Sports:

“We have come from remote areas. I came with a friend from Kajiado to Nairobi and we even booked rooms in Nairobi in the hope that we would be embarking on the journey on Tuesday. For one reason or another, it did not work," said the angry supporter.

“We have spent a lot of money over the last two days but are now returning home because we do not foresee this trip happening. It is very inconveniencing.”

Another fan added, “If the CS was serious, he could have given Ksh100,000 so we could sort ourselves for the journey.”

Leadership’s Response

KEFOFA president Francis Liboyi urged fans not to lose hope, calling for resilience and stronger organisational efforts. He also questioned the commitment of CS Kuria to his promise:

“We shouldn’t kill it because Kuria has failed us,” Liboyi shared with Pulse Sports.

Former Gor Mahia official Sally Bolo emphasised the need for better planning in future scenarios, highlighting the unpredictability of sponsors.

“Apparently, the travel logistics have not yet been summed up. In the event that none of the sponsors are living up to their promises, we need to urge you to plan better for other matches instead of rushing up the 32-hour drive to just watch one match (Ivory Coast),” Bolo stated on the official WhatsApp group, seen by Pulse Sports.

Moving Forward

In light of the recent turmoil, Liboyi called for increased fan registration with the federation to bolster their organisational capacity and improve future planning. Fans are encouraged to register on the federation’s official website. (https://www.kefofa.co.ke/register.php) Membership options include.

Ordinary Membership: Annual subscription at Ksh3,000

Corporate Membership: Ksh100,000

Life Membership: Ksh200,000

Despite the setbacks, KEFOFA aims to unite fans and fortify their support system for the Harambee Stars, ensuring such disruptions do not mar future events.

For more updates, fans can follow Pulse Sports on our X account.