Kenya football team goes to Brazil World Cup - to watch

  • Published
Kenya's national team - November 2013Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The Harambee Stars won the Cecafa Challenge Cup in December, beating Sudan 2-0

Kenya's president is paying for the national football team to go and watch some World Cup matches in Brazil to inspire them to qualify in future.

President Uhuru Kenyatta said he and his wife had promised to send them after they won a recent regional cup.

National captain Jeremy Onyango said it was "a dream come true for this team".

Kenya is one of the world's most successful nations in athletics but has never reached the finals of the football World Cup.

The BBC's Paul Nabiswa in the capital, Nairobi, says despite recent footballing successes, some Kenyans will see the move as a waste of money, even if it is a personal donation.

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Bars in Nairobi were packed with fans watching the opening game on Thursday

Earlier in the week, Mr Kenyatta warned Kenyans to be cautious when watching World Cup matches in crowded bars, which could be targets for terror attacks.

But there was no noticeable extra security when people packed into venues to watch Thursday's opening match, our correspondent says.


It is not clear how many matches the 11 Harambee Stars players will be attending or how long they will be staying in Brazil.

Image source, AP
Image caption,
Ghana has organised to send 500 football fans to cheers on the Black Stars in Group G

Mr Kenyatta said that he and his wife, Margaret, are giving $120,000 (£71,000) towards the trip, along with a $40,000 contribution from the East African Breweries company.

This would pay for 11 players and three team officials to go to the "greatest sporting event in the world", the president said as he met the team at State House in Nairobi on Friday.

"When the team won the Cecafa Challenge Cup a few months ago, I did indeed make a personal pledge," said Mr Kenyatta, who is one of Africa's wealthiest men.

"We want our boys to go out to Brazil we hope that this will encourage them to do even better as they watch the standards of other international teams ... [so] they will emulate what they see," the president said, adding that he was jealous not to be going to Brazil himself.

Mr Kenyatta said his government would soon be announcing new ways to support the sport, whose administration has been dogged by allegations of mismanagement for years.

"Your support won't die [for] this team and we are looking forward to more and more better things to come," Mr Onyango said.

On Monday, Ghana's government announced it was sending 500 fans and a cook to watch the Black Stars in Brazil, thanks to funds raised by the private sector.

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