Football Football

Striking Leopards place Tusker tie in doubt


AFC-TRAIN-DEEPNAIROBI, April 23- Saturday’s top Kenyan Premier League (KPL) clash between local giants, Tusker FC and AFC Leopards hangs in the balance after the latter’s players threatened not to honour the televised fixture in the latest strike The Den.

Speaking to Capital Sport on Thursday afternoon, assistant head coach, Yusuf Chippo admitted these were uncertain times for the 13-time domestic champions after the players’ absconded training for the third day running and reportedly called for the high profile fixture to be postponed.

“It’s a delicate situation, we are living dangerously. We don’t know whether we will play Saturday’s match, we are not sure. We have not trained Monday; I have tried calling the boys back.

“They are saying they await official communication from the club to pay them their dues for them to come back. It looks very bad for a coach when the players don’t perform in the field because of management issues.

“I hope they will solve it very soon for us to be back. Every team is broke but Gor Mahia have found a way of solving their issues with the bread deal and we should emulate the same,” the frustrated tactician decried.

Confirming the latest in an embarrassing chain of player strikes that have rocked The Den since pre-season, club assistant secretary, Professor Asava Kadima however, denied knowledge of the planned boycott.

“I’m not aware the players have asked for the match to be postponed but what I know is they have not trained,” he added, requesting Capital Sport to communicate to him later in what was a sign of crisis talks on what is turning to be a den of confusion at Ingwe.

“I’m still hoping they will go back to training tomorrow (Friday) and prepare for Saturday’s match. We don’t want to miss since it’s not a good culture to boycott a fixture. I wouldn’t expect the players to abandon the club overnight yet they know the situation of the team.

“We have spoken with the captain and they are willing to return to training since it’s the only way we can negotiate,” Kadima added later.

A planned meeting on Saturday by members of the club set for Nairobi’s Nyayo Stadium poolside has removal from office of the current Executive Committee among its stated agenda.

Leopards sit seventh after an indifferent start to the season that has seen them hold archrivals and champions, Gor to a 1-1 stalemate, hit KCB 3-1 before falling 0-1 to Ushuru FC in their last three KPL ties.

Tusker, the 2011 and 12 champions are not fairing any better, trailing them by a place on the standings in eighth on the same number of 12 points with Sunday’s game billed as a chance for the stuttering giants to lay a marker for the season.