NAIROBI, Kenya, August 6 – For the second time in successive seasons, Sony Sugar have been penalised for forcing an abandonment in the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) after the cane cutters failed to honour their rescheduled clash against AFC Leopards in Nakuru on Wednesday.
KPL moved the match to Afraha Stadium for security reasons but the designated home team refused to travel to the new venue and consequently, Ingwe were handed three points and a 2-0 goal cushion by the administrators.
The latest incident comes almost a year to the day they were punished in the same manner after being found culpable of causing the abandonment of their tempestuous clash against champions Gor Mahia with six minutes left of play at their Awendo Green Stadium backyard after K’Ogalo netted a bitterly disputed equaliser for 2-2; that time, their boycott costing them three points and 3-0 result but the boardroom outcome did little to alter the destination of the crown after a protracted process of appeals and counter appeals.
After waiting in vain for the Sugar Millers to turn up in Nakuru decked in full kit for the required 15 minutes, match officials called off the match as Ingwe became the first beneficiaries this season of a walkover victory.
Sony forfeited the points after staying firm on their decision to boycott the clash accusing KPL of changing the venue from Awendo’s Green Stadium on short notice.
Speaking to Capital Sport from Awendo, bitter head coach Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno said KPL were not practicing fair play after denying them their right of hosting the match since they were the home team.
“I fail to understand how KPL reached on awarding AFC the points since we were waiting for them here at Awendo, that’s very unfair because they even did the same when we were supposed to host Gor in the first leg, are the two clubs special from the rest?
“At a KPL meeting we agreed the host team has the mandate to change the venue if they wanted but in this case we have not been consulted neither did we book Afraha and again the venue was inspected by their Stadia Technical Committee and approved it,” the former Harambee Stars tactician lamented.
He continued to say that, “KPL changed the venue on Friday why could they not inform us a week before so that we can prepare ourselves and be in Nakuru by Monday?
“This shows impunity because if we have played big teams like Sofapaka, Tusker and Ulinzi Stars here why not AFC and if our pitch cannot host the game why did they play in Muhoroni considering their pitch is worse than ours?. They have denied us home advantage and it’s totally unfair,” Otieno decried.
On the other hand, KPL boss Jack Oguda stated Sony declined to adhere to the rules since they were aware they cannot host a match of such caliber, especially after they were forced to abandon their match against Gor last season when fans invaded the pitch in a fracas that lasted almost an hour before the game was called off when darkness fell over Awendo Green that has no floodlights.
“The rules are very clear, if they fail to avail themselves for the match, their opponents will be given a walkover and that’s what happened, Leopards are the winners of that game.
“Their pitch cannot host a match of such magnitude we cannot risk after what happened when they played Gor last season. We are the one who makes the final decision,” Oguda told this reporter.
Sony will now wait for further sanctions from the KPL Disciplinary Committee as Leopards, who have wobbled of late returned to Nairobi with three valuable points that put further daylight between them and the relegation zone, at least for now.