Ababu apologises for KBC’s disappointment as Kenya lose to Gabon
Hours after chartering a private flight for the Kenya national football squad, Harambee Stars and promising them hefty bonuses for each point they collected in their 2026 World Cup qualifier matches, Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba waved them off then made a rallying call to Kenyans.
“Delighted to announce that the Harambee Stars vs Gabon 2026 World Cup qualifier game tonight will be broadcast live by @KBCChannel1. I consider this to be a special occasion as Kenya returns to international football after a long two year absence occasioned by the FIFA suspension. Kenyans deserve to witness this historic moment live. Tune in from 7.00 pm EAT and cheer on our boys. C’mon #HarambeeStars,” initially said CS Namwamba.
At the same time, the state run Kenya Broadcasting Corporation media house also announced its changes in programming in advance in preparation for airing the match. However, things did not go as planned.
An hour after the initial statements, CS Namwamba directed Kenyans to watch the match on KBC’s YouTube channel, a costly affair for many who can afford stable, unlimited internet, either in WiFi or bundles, to watch the full match.
Fast forward to the morning of November 17, 2023, a day after the match, CS Namwamba ended up having to apologize to Kenyans for KBC’s failures.
“Last night KBC Channel 1 TV let down Kenyan fans with satellite difficulties that occasioned failure to screen the Harambee Stars game vs Gabon in Franceville. We owe Kenyans a sincere, unequivocal and unambiguous apology for this disappointment. You sure deserve better. poleni sana (we are very sorry)!” said CS Namwamba.
Kenya put up a poor show, losing 2-1 to the hosts, Gabon, despite leading in the match for long spells. Masoud Juma scored for the only goal for Kenya in a game that several players struggled including captain Michael Olunga, midfielder Kenneth Muguna and goalkeeper Patrick Matasi.
Following CS Namwamba’s apology, Kenyans took on him with various sentiments:
“Better signal failed 😕. It was still a loss that could have been a heartbreak to Kenyans,” opined Peter Mutai.
“It’s OK mhesh, what we could have witnessed it is the same disappointment you are talking about,” added Nganga Gathoni.
“No difference between KBC Channel 1 TV & the Harambee Stars . They are all used to heartbreak Kenyans. If you want peace of mind detatch your emotions from them,” continued Kelvin Murimi.
“We wont accept that apology you should test those satelite before bragging that you will air the match…” said Dennis Nyamato.
Kenya will next play Seychelles in Abidjan in this competition but the loss to Gabon already complicates Harambee Stars’ chances of qualifying for the 2026 Fifa World Cup set to be played in the USA, Canada and Mexico.
Stars’ Turkish coach, Engin Firat, is already under pressure for the earlier poor show amid suggestions his team played in an uncoordinated and unimpressive way. Kenya’s qualification group comprises Ivory Coast who are considered favorites to qualify, alongside Kenya, Gabon, Seychelles, Burundi and Gambia.
Burundi later beat Gambia 3-2 in another group match.
The result means Kenya is already placed bottom in the group.