EXCLUSIVE: Inside Harambee Stars’ journey from Nairobi to Cape Verde
The chartered plane that carried the national football team to Cape Verde’s capital Praia for Tuesday night’s World Cup qualification match had to first fly for more than an hour to refuel at Entebbe Airport Kampala, Uganda, Nairobi News can now reveal.
This would be just but one of the three fueling stopovers the plane – a 50 seater propeller jet – made between Nairobi and Praia in what turned out to be a draining 22-hour journey.
But it is the decision to fly for 1h 10 minutes to Entebbe that is certain to raise eyebrows considering the incident is already up for investigation by Government authorities.
Football Kenya Federation President Sam Nyamweya and senior officials in the Ministry of Sports including Principal Secretary Amb Richard Ekai have already recorded statements with the Criminal Investigations Department on this matter.
From Entebbe, the flew for an estimated seven-hour, 3000km journey to Kano City in Nigeria for another 30-minute refueling stopover.
The team made another stop in Dakar, Senega,l for more fuel after a nine-hour trip covering approximately 2800km.
The journey was then complete after a 45-minute flight from Dakar to Cape Verde.
All this while, those on board were only fed on snacks, according to some disgruntled players.
Sources said that the cabin crew had explained that the delayed departure from Nairobi had forced them to ask different countries for permission, forcing them to use alternative, lengthy routes.
They also explained that a decision was made to use a longer route to Praia as a “safety precaution”.
The Stars contingent which eventually arrived in Praia approximately three hours to the match is expected to embark on a similar journey back home that will commence on Wednesday afternoon, and end on Thursday evening.
They lost 2-0 on Tuesday night ending their bid to qualify for the World Cup.