Paul Were recounts all-night drinking spree in Kampala while on national duty
Former Harambee Stars midfielder Paul Were has given his side of the story regarding an incident 10 years ago when an all-night drinking spree in Kampala, Uganda landed him in big trouble with Kenyan football authorities.
In an exclusive interview with sports journalist Jeff Kinyanjui on the One-on-One podcast, Were, who is currently contracted to top Rwandan side Rayon Sport, exhaustively recounted the events of that night at a time he was part of the national team that was contesting the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup tournament.
The incident saw Were and his partner in crime Kevin Omondi kicked out of the team’s training camp.
“The thing that I regret the most in my life and in my career is that moment in Uganda. We were young, we were so young and w we were overjoyed. What we did was wrong, you know, but it’s not like not every player didn’t go out. Everyone went out, drunk, but they came back to the hotel early. Me and Ade came back late… actually it was around 6am,” Were recalled.
He said the matter should have been handled in a better way, but a team official leaked it to Kenyan journalists who made a big story out of it.
However, Were said he holds no hard feelings whatsoever.
“I don’t blame anyone. I blame myself. But that incident didn’t cost the team… we apologized to Kenyans, we apologized to the federation, we apologized to fellow players… that’s why we went back to the team and we went even into the final. In the final I even gave an assist. I think we learned from that experience,” he said reflectively.
Were attributed his bad boy persona to that one moment.
“It really affected me, my family, my young kid… since that moment people have always seen me as bad boy… that I’m a good player but I drink a lot…,” he said.
However, Were fell shot of confirming nor denying claims that on that night in Kampala they returned to their hotel rooms with female guests.
At the time of the incident, back in November 2012, Were was playing for Tusker FC. He and Omondi, who was playing for Gor Mahia, were kicked out of the team camp. Football Federation of Kenya also suspended them indefinitely from the national team and there were plans to have them punished by their respective football clubs.
The then FKF Chairman Sam Nyamweya then made a decision to have players paid their allowances once they returned to the country from international duty following that incident.
This highly publicized drama led to a fallout between the then Harambee Stars coach, James Nandwa and Ababu Namwamba who served as Sports Minister during President Mwai Kibaki’s regime. Mr Namwamba visited Harambee Stars in camp and gifted them Sh300,000 that saw the players head out to celebrate.
Were, who has also played for AFC Leopards with stints in Europe, has also struggled to shed off the bad boy image, so mush so that he once he lost a two-year sponsorship deal with a top betting firm in the country.