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KPL warns Leopards against Top 8 snub

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NAIROBI, Kenya, June 25- Kenyan Premier League (KPL) leaders AFC Leopards face heavy sanctions should they forge ahead and boycott Sunday’s Top 8 clash against archrivals Gor Mahia.

KPL Chief Executive, Jack Oguda, said Wednesday that his body and governing Football Kenya Federation (FKF) had concurred on penalising Ingwe if the club goes ahead to abandon the encounter set for Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

“All along, we have been aware of the Top 8 since it was launched last year and the clubs that have been participating have honoured all the matches. There are rules we have when clubs fail to honour matches and that will definitely apply (to Leopards).

“I do not foresee such as situation on Sunday since there is a lot at stake. Preparations and re-scheduling of league matches have been done and they have been aware. In my opinion, maybe that is a threat to make the other team not prepare for the match,” the chief executive emphasised.

He was reacting to reports earlier in the day quoting Leopards chairman, Alex Ole Magelo saying his side will not feature in the knock-out fixture where the winners will qualify for the semis of the competition where the winner bags Sh1m.

Oguda disclosed he had held a meeting with FKF’s top brass where it was agreed both the federation and league management body would clamp down hard on the league frontrunners if they carried through with the abandonment.

Stakeholders meeting

He was speaking after a stakeholders meeting to discuss match logistics that brought together representatives of KPL, Sports Stadia Management Board (SSMB), broadcast sponsors, SuperSport, Kenya Police, Ticket Masters as well as Gor officials where their Leopards counterparts were conspicuously missing.

“They told me their officials were on their way but the meeting has ended without them but all the decisions we reached here will be communicated to AFC,” Oguda added.

“There are many logistics that costs a lot including paying for the stadium, police and private security, printing tickets as well as satellite air time for the broadcast slot and these are some of the costs Leopards are liable to meet besides other sanctions.”

Gor hint at scaring tactics

Gor secretary, George Bwana, dispelled the boycott threat saying his team was preparing and focused for the second ‘Kenya Derby’ of the season after their KPL clash in May ended in a barren stalemate amid clashes in the stands blamed on K’Ogalo supporters.

“I’m looking forward to a beautiful game and at the end of the day; we emerge victorious against AFC Leopards. Matches between Gor and AFC are interesting and some have ended prematurely and others with incidents.

“We are hoping we will not have a repeat on Sunday. As Gor Mahia, we are prepared and we have done our best to sensitise our fans to conduct themselves in a manner that supports the beautiful game and we believe everything will go right on Sunday,” Bwana expressed.

He confirmed Gor had forwarded five names of notorious fans to Police for subsequent action while alleging some of the skirmishes associated with the supporters of both clubs were politically instigated.

“Sometimes these things are derived by forces beyond our control. We are going through an election period and there is a thin line between football and politics. Politicians find it easy to want to portray their opponents in certain (negative) ways through football.

“As a club, we have been painted previously as negative by the media but I believe we have done something. We have been conducting fan education and this is bearing fruit,” the secretary stressed as he termed Leopards threat to abandon the game as ‘antics meant to scare us.’

Their league game at Nyayo National Stadium saw Gor banned from playing at SSMB facilities and their matches pulled out of the SuperSport live coverage roster occasioning the postponement of the Top 8 clash that was initially set for May after their fans went on rampage occasioning a 15-minute stoppage.

Capital Sport established that Leopards boycott threat was informed by lack of funds to prepare for the fixture with KPL giving both clubs Sh100,000 each for logistics.

However, it is said Ingwe officials cannot access the payment through their bank account after the club’s account was frozen in the court case filed against Magelo’s administration by challengers led by Ssemi Aina and their request for cash was turned down by KPL.

30,000 tickets

Meanwhile, 30,000 tickets will be on sale for the match with another 10,000 reserved in case the demand for the game outstrips the allocated quota with each ticket costing Sh200 and will retail at various outlets in Nairobi.

Tickets will go on sale on Friday at the match venue, Githurai 45 Main Bus Terminus, Co-operative Bank Zimmerman, Sports View Kasarani, Kariobangi Shopping Centre, City Stadium, 20th Century and Kenya cinemas in the CBD, Nyayo Stadium and Hope Centre in Kawangware.

No tickets will be sold at the stadium on Sunday and gates will open at 10am and close at 2:45pm on match-day ahead of the 4pm kick-off with the stadium accessible from 96 entry points.

Ticket Masters said the figure was based on records that showed the highest domestic club match had attracted 24,000 fans when the two sides played in the KPL in the second leg of last season with other matches averaging 5000 supporters.

The firm reiterated security concerns had restrained it from producing capacity tickets for the 60,000-seater stadium for the match that will be aired live on SuperSport 9 East from 3:30pm.

 

 

 

 

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