The career of Gor Mahia defender Philemon Otieno who sustained a career threatening injury while playing for Harambee stars is in limbo
Additional reporting from the Nation
Record Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions Gor Mahia and Football Kenya Federation (FKF) are locked in a tussle over the treatment of Philemon Otieno who was injured while on national team duty.
Otieno, who emerged as the first choice right back for both club and country last season, picked a knee injury during the return leg of the first round 2020 African Nations Championship (Chan) qualifier pitting Harambee Stars against Taifa Stars at Kasarani last month. Otieno was replaced in the first half as Kenya lost 4-1 on post-match penalties following a barren draw.
Reports indicate that FKF had planned to airlift the player for surgery in France few days after the match but that has not happened to date.
Gor Mahia CEO Lordvick Aduda has accused the federation of neglecting their player rendering him unavailable for club assignments.
“I wrote a letter to FKF on September 4 on the state of Philemon’s injury and they have never bothered to answer. The player needs to be treated urgently because he is suffering and is in pain. They wrote to us when they needed the player for national assignment but now they have ignored us and deserted him yet it is their responsibility to meet his medical cost,” an aggrieved Aduda told Nation Sport.
Aduda dismissed claims that Otieno has been released by the club reiterating that he is still contracted to Gor Mahia until January 2020.
“Nobody has terminated Philemon’s contract, we only severed it for some time and gave his jersey number to another player. He is still our player. What is surprising is that when Brian Mandela got injured in Harambee Stars camp in France, FKF paid for his treatment and didn’t refer him to his club in South Africa. Why is that not happening in Philemon’s situation?,” posed Aduda.
However, acting FKF CEO Barry Otieno insists that it’s not the prerogative of national team players to be treated by the federation.
“There is no law that say the federation should cater for medicals expenses of a player injured while playing for the national team We also don’t have comprehensive insurance cover for players in the national team, we only give them covers when traveling out of the country for matches,” said Otieno who urged Gor Mahia to carry their own cross. “Philemon is a Gor Mahia player and the club should help him get treatment. As at now, the federation has no money but the situation would have been different if finances were available,” he added.
The surgery, to reconstruct complete tear of Otieno’s anterior cruciate ligament, is estimated to cost Sh500,000.