NAIROBI, Kenya, July 20- Its huge, its live on SuperSport but trouble makers are better advised to keep away from Sunday’s Kenya Derby that will see the age old rivalry between Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards take centre stage at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium.
“It’s going to be a great game between K’Ogalo and AFC Leopards. In terms of arrangements, we have put in place very good security. We learnt a lot from the last match we played against Mathare United and we have made ample arrangements,” Gor chairman, Ambrose Rachier said on Wednesday.
The chair added the club had printed 24,500 tickets based on the allocated number of tickets and details on when the sale will commence. VIP stands will attract a fee of Sh500 with terrace places levied at Sh200.
“We are ready to meet them not head on but leg on. We are prepared and will be involved in fair play. I can pledge the fans have assured me there will be no violence or acts of hooliganism and may the best team win,” Rachier emphasised.
Kenyan Premier League (KPL) CEO, Jack Oguda, stressed, “Following the incident that occurred last year, the security committee assessed all the matches in the second leg. AFC and Gor Mahia is a high risk match and more consideration on security.”
“Initially, the Stadium Board were not happy to host the match at Nyayo but we managed to set up a meeting and agreed we will take this game seriously. In our subsequent meetings, we placed everything in place and the final meeting is on tomorrow (Thursday) evening,” Oguda stated.
The KPL Stadium Security Committee he disclosed had recommended opening of all gates with tickets bearing gate numbers must be adhered to.
Marshals placed within the perimeter and vicinity of Nyayo will direct fans to their respective entry points.
Langata OCPD and his officers in addition to help from the National Youth Service will be enlisted to ensure no ticket-less fans gain access to the confines of the venue where seven fans perished in a stampede last October when the sides last met.
During the press briefing where South Africa based SuperSport formally announced the return of Gor Mahia on the live coverage roster, the KPL CEO observed airing of the match was also crucial in ensuring the numbers are checked.
“We acknowledge SuperSport resuming coverage since many fans who would have wanted to watch the match are now able to witness the game elsewhere,” Oguda intoned.
MultiChoice Kenya General Manager, Stephen Isaboke, who held brief for the broadcaster expressed, “The test of the pudding is in the eating. The biggest test is this match; it is really a match that is full of passion and the fans need to hold back their passion.
“We can all shout ourselves hoarse but shouting is good; we can all blow our Vuvuzelas but let’s not fight physically.”
Gor games were struck off the SuperSport live coverage schedule following the rioting in the club’s KPL Top 8 semi against Ulinzi where property was damaged and a female production crew member required nine stitches from injuries sustained in a projectile attack.
“We will have marshals to ensure that no one gets into the stadium with anything that can be used to hurt people. We will work with our people to ensure known trouble makers are identified and handed over to police,” Rachier warned potential hooligans.
“It is up to the security forces to make those identified examples to others by taking them to court and charging them since we do not have powers to arrest and prosecute.”
While urging fans to make their purchases in good time since none would be available at the venue, the chair announced tickets would be sold away from the stadium at estates in Nairobi and selling booths would close hours to the game.
On the return of SuperSport, Rachier pointed, “This is a great step forward and I was under pressure from fans living outside Nairobi from as far as Mandela, Lamu and Mumias why we are not back on live coverage.
“We are in the process of making arrangements for fan education with the sole object of eliminating violence and hooliganism from the stadium and that is the assurance they needed.”
His opposite number, Alex Ole Magelo also disclosed AFC Leopards had also taken steps to educate their supporters on the same subject, giving guarantees that Ingwe faithful had also promised to uphold good behaviour on Sunday.