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Top local paper falls for April Fools’ spoof

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SPOOF-PICNAIROBI, Kenya, April 2- Sports desks around the world had a field day on Tuesday as they churned out pranks to mark April Fools Day on unsuspecting readers and consumers of their news.

But as far as spoofs go, it was total disbelief when a respected national paper fell for what was otherwise an audacious ruse with readers of Kenyan daily The Star waking up Wednesday to a back page story torn straight from a hoax report in rival People Daily.

To compound the saga, local football website, futaa.com ran a second day story of the subject of the trick denying he had sneaked out of the target club without permission, quoting him refuting the claims in what was a sound victory for the wisecracks that hatched the April Fools’ story.

In what is bound to leave much egg in the faces of the rank and file of the country’s latest daily news paper, The Star ran a banner headline, Keli at Inter? And underneath it, a story that Kenyan Premier League (KPL) top scorer, Jacob Keli, had gone AWOL at his new club AFC Leopards to pursue trials at Italian giants and 2010 Champions League winners, Inter Milan.

Not to be outdone, futaa.com had their piece titled ‘I didn’t sneak out’ published hours after The People revealed the whole scoop was nothing but a con story!

“AFC Leopards have once again been left sweating after the departure of their key striker, Jacob Keli, who has apparently gone to Milan for trials with Italian giants, Internazionale,” the intro to the story penned by reporter Muigai Kiguru, read in The Star.

The article went on to state club secretary, George Aladwa, was “not aware of Keli’s plans and only learned of his departure after he failed to honour last weekend’s match against in which Leopards beat Top Fry 1-0 in Mumias,” alluding to the weekend domestic league fixture for the club that crashed out of the CAF Confederations Cup continental tournament in the first round in February.

However, the story and its contents were all bogus with the report first appearing in The People on Tuesday as their April Fools prank.

“How can a fool’s day prank be a genuine story the following day in another daily??,” the sports editor of People Daily, James Waindi, posed on his official Facebook account alongside photos of the two papers.

Within minutes, the post went viral as many riled against the offenders whose slogan is ironically, ‘smart people read the star’.

Amid other comments, some that cannot be published, Job Mutai posted, “Armchair Journalism: A Case Study,” in mockery of those involved in regurgitating the scam as a genuine story a day after April Fools.

The player involved, Keli, the Kenyan international forward who signed for Leopards at the close season from KCB FC, was injured for the tie in what was extensively reported in the country by various outlets, a fact that escaped The Star and futaa.com writers.

Other April Fool gems that did the rounds in Kenya included Daily Nation stating the Arsenal ‘Invincibles’ of 2004 would play an exhibition game at the eastern town of Machakos this weekend, The Standard offered Olympics champion and world men 800m record holder, David Rudisha, had quit athletics indefinitely while Capital FM website ran a report that Football Kenya Federation boss, Sam Nyamweya, was awarded the Order of the British Empire honour by Queen Elizabeth II.

The People certainly took the biscuit.

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