NAIROBI, Kenya, May 21- Football Kenya Federation boss Nick Mwendwa has said the Mashemeji Derby pitting Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards will not take place this weekend as earlier scheduled despite Kenya Premier League saying the game scheduled for Bukhungu will go on.
Mwendwa says this has been occasioned by the fact that Harambee Stars will play two friendly matches against Swaziland and Equatorial Guinea on Friday and Monday next week in Machakos.
“The coach called me last night and said that if he can’t have all his players for these games, then we cancel. I am not ready to cancel these games and they will go on. I am stating categorically that there will be no derby this weekend. The players have to start training this week with the national team,” Mwendwa said on Monday morning.
This now invites the starting point of the infamous war between FKF and the league managers who earlier on Monday morning had categorically stated league matches including the derby will go on despite the friendly matches.
“These games are outside the FIFA calendar so we are at no obligation to postpone the games. They (FKF) requested but we have declined the request,” KPL CEO Jack Oguda told Capital Sport.
On Monday, Mwendwa in a stern-voiced statement insisted that ‘tough decisions have to be made’ and added that KPL will have no choice but tow the federation’s line on the issue.
“We need to be ready for Ghana in September and we need the coach to have players in camp as early as now. If we need to beat Ghana we have to prepare well. So I will insist that those two friendly games will go on and there will be no derby,” the Federation boss noted.
He also says there was no way the match would be held at the Bukhungu Stadium over security fears, noting that the only venue they as a federation would be comfortable in would be Kasarani.
That same stadium, he says, will be closed for the next one month o do the final touches on the grass.
“The contractor told us that the pitch was not fully ready and we had to do some quick work for the Hull game. But now he says we have to close it for a month so that he finishes up then we can have games there,” Mwendwa noted.
In turn, this means that both friendly matches will be played at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos. Also, next month’s SportPesa Super Cup will be staged at the same venue with the Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega being an option.