MACHAKOS, Kenya, Jan 15- Kenyan Premier League defending champions Gor Mahia have been handed a reprieve ahead of their CAF Champions League campaign after Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua lifted a ban imposed on the club on the use of the Kenyatta Stadium.
Mutua had ordered a ban on the 16-time Premier League champions after a section of the fans went on destructive rampage around the town following their loss to Sofapaka in their run-up to the league title in 2014.
“Following negotiations brokered by my sports minister Faith Kithu, we have decided to lift the ban for the love of the sport and promotion of sports tourism in the county,” Mutua said on Monday afternoon after a meeting with Gor Mahia officials led by chairman Ambrose Rachier.
Also present at the meeting was AFC Leopards chairman Dan Mule.
However, Gor Mahia will be required to pay a Sh1mn goodwill fee to the county government following the lifting of the ban.
“We know the amount is not enough for the damages caused by our fans, but it’s a goodwill gesture to show our appreciation for being welcomed back,” Gor boss Rachier remarked.
He admitted that the club has been fighting the hooliganism vice since the 2014 incident but assured that the same had been stemmed immensely and was on the decline.
Gor Mahia was in limbo over the facility to use for their CAF Champions League campaign which kicks off in February as the Kenyatta Stadium is the only CAF recognized facility in the country with both Nyayo and Kasarani stadia closed for renovation.
They were banking on an inspection of the Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega for the same, but a date hasn’t been set yet. AFC Leopards will also most likely stage their Confederations Cup campaign at the same venue.
The season-opening Super Cup pitting the two giants might also be considered for the Kenyatta Stadium which also played host to the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup last month.
At the same time, Mutua said the county government will construct 8 stadia, one in each sub county in the next two years.