NAIROBI, Kenya, August 27 – A section of irate AFC Leopards fans turned rowdy and attacked referee boss, GMT Ottieno after their team was held to a barren draw by Muhoroni Youth at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium.
Police were compelled to use tear gas to repel the infuriated supporters who then set to stoning packed vehicles and motorists, turning Aerodrome Road outside the stadium into a no go zone after allegedly incurring the wrath of the law when one officer was hit by a projectile.
The club risks heavy financial penalties following the melee that lasted for almost an hour after the final whistle with the fans aggrieved at what they termed key decisions going against their side.
After seeing plucky Muhoroni, who beat them 1-0 in the first leg deny Leopards the maximum points, a section of Ingwe fans turned their anger to KPL Head of Technical, Safety and Security Ottieno, accusing him of having a hand in picking centre referee Anthony Ogwayo who legitimately disallowed Leopards two goals on off-side.
It required police intervention to control the situation after fans headed to Muhoroni Youth bus to force the driver to steer it to the pitch with the intent of stoning it after complaining the same happened to their vehicle when in Muhoroni where it lost some windows.
It was at this juncture that police lobbed tear gas to chase them from the stadium before they continued hauling projectiles from the perimeter.
Earlier on, the fans barred Muhoroni players from accessing the pitch for warm up by pouring salt on them something that was strongly condemned by head coach Francis Baraza.
“It was very bad, as you see my players and I have salt all over our faces, we have been held for over an hour at the gate. This is not good impression in our Kenyan football.
“Federation officials should take action to stop such incidents because players will feel uncomfortable while playing, this behaviour is long overdue,” Baraza who played for Leopards in his days expressed.
The high tempered match saw Leopards create numerous chances but they could not break down a resilient Muhoroni side who denied Ingwe a chance to climb to eighth on the log.
Harambee Stars forward Jacob Keli and winger Timonah Wanyonyi squandered open chances with the former KCB forward creating the first when he beat keeper Allan Owiny to cut in but neither Noah Wafula nor Humphrey Mieno could find the back of the net as the visitors survived by a whisker.
In the 16th, Keli thought he had netted the opener after scoring from an Abbdallah Juma cross only for Ogwayo to rule offside.
Keli landed an open chance in the 39th after Wafula raced from the center to feed the 2013 player of the year who blasted wide in front of goal before keeper Wycliffe Kasaya who was making a comeback after a three match absence finger tipping substitute Enos Ochieng effort.
Leopards introduced Wanyonyi for Edwin Wafula upon resumption with the former Gor Mahia winger wasting two chances with only Owiny to beat moments after Kasaya denied man of the match Ezekiel Otieno.
Leopards once again found the back of the net but Ogwayo cancelled the goal after James Situma infringed in Owiny.
Muhoroni managed to hold on for the point to see both teams locked on 28 points.
Elsewhere, 2009 champions Sofapaka displaced Tusker in second after beating Mathare United 1-0 in Machakos’ Kenyatta Stadium.
Enock Agwanda netted the winning goal in the 41st minute after tapping home Clifford Miheso’s cross to see Batoto Ba Mungu lead the Brewers by goal difference.
Agwanda now joins Gor’s Dan Sserunkuma on the top scorer’s chart with nine goals apiece.