Friday, February 27, 2009

Bring On Gor Mahia












It is Gor Mahia versus AFC Leopards tomorrow.

The build up to the match has been one of the craziest for Leopards.

They scored their first goal in the League. Courtesy Dennis Mukaisi.

















They conceded a silly goal. Courtesy Charles Onyango.
















They suspended the coach. Who in turn resigned. And in todays Nairobi Star reveals why he resigned. Or was he fired?



















So tomorrow, will the Leopards score?











Or will the keeper fumble....












And be scored?










The game has been moved to the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani but will also be televised live on Supersport. Kick off 3pm.

The Star states that both clubs are upbeat ahead of the clash. And wouldn't it be something. To finally get our FIRST WIN of the League against Gor Mahia?












In other news, it was reported on KISS 100 this morning that Leopards legend Mickey Weche was shot last night and is recuperating at a Nairobi hospital. Ingwe Fan sends Weche a Get well soon wish.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Selebwa Resigns

From the Standard

By Gilbert Wandera and Erick Ochieng’

AFC Leopards coach Gilbert Selebwa resigned hours after the Premier League side suspended him.

In a news conference in Nairobi yesterday, Club Secretary Richard Ekhalie said Selebwa was suspended for allegedly undermining team officials and also for trying to incite players.

Pressed further, the official was not willing to elaborate how the former coach has been undermining the office.

"For now that is all we can say on Selebwa’s fate," he said.

He announced that assistant coach Edward Manoah takes over on an acting capacity until a new coach is identified in the next couple of days.

"We have agreed Manoah takes charge of the team for a few days until we finalise the recruitment of a new coach," he said.

He did not confirm or deny whether former national team coach Twahir Muhiddin was tipped to take over. Contacted, Selebwa admitted to have been suspended but faulted the office of giving in to fans demands.

"I urge fans to give the office time to operate," he said. Selebwa denied charges levelled against him and challenged the officials to state his exact crimes.

He said he would continue to be part of the club and will still offer services when required.

"I still have a vision for this club. It has a future and the last thing I want is confrontation with anyone," he added.

At the same time, Leopards launched a Short Message Service facility aimed at wooing fans to join the club.

Interested fans will send a text to the number 2225 which will be charged a premium rate of Sh50.

Ekhalie said they are targeting two million members to hook up on the service that will help the club raise a substantial amount of money to run their activities in the next three months.

"The service is available on both Safaricom and Zain subscribers and is a way for our members to support the club," he said.

The report got the phone number wrong. It is 2325.

A separate story carries the positive news about Selebwa.

Meanwhile former AFC Leopards coach Gilbert Selebwa has backed his former club to beat Gor Mahia on Saturday in the Kenyan Premier League. Selebwa said he held no hard feelings after he was suspended.

"I spent a lot of my time and other resources to help Leopards get to where they are now. I feel the team needs everybody’s support the team. I will be rooting for Leopards to beat Gor because like anybody else we want this team to succeed," he said.

The resignation of Selebwa is also featured in the Nation.






And the Nairobi Star.







And the Daily Metro






Two divergent views are expressed by fans on the Discussion Forum on the Official Website.

Barasa Munyekenya states:

It is a good idea and a bad idea too.

First, Selebwa has been patient with the team, since it was demoted. He has been using his resources while we were on in the Nation wide till he brought us this far. For that, i believe we should not relieve him off this duty.

On the other side, i believe we need an experience coach to assist him. Take Chris Makokha-the oldman, let him come to the technical bench to give ideas to Selebwa. I believe you are just blaming Selebwa alone but the whole technical bench have to answer the poor performance we have seen. With Chris, am sure things will improve.

Those who were in KK, remember replacing a player after 3 mins for just making a minor blunder-then why was he included in the staring 11?. I blame the whole bench for lack of communication.
Last weekend i talked to one of the officials and after writing in this forum, and the changes you made i the defence paid off despite the draw.

Thus, for me, i will opt for retaining Selebwa as an assistant to a new coach-probably Makokha for his experience, as dismissing Selebwa will also have a negative impact to some of the players.

Ingwe (not this blogger states):

For those in the know, Selebwa's woes did not begin or are not emanating from the pitch of play. This man is arrogant. The mere fact that ''he helped'' us come come back to the top flight is no reason to hold the club to ransom. Had you heard him speak before the press came to interview him after the Bandari match, you’d feel sorry. He has no respect for the fans.

He even has the audacity to say that the fans are good for nothing but heckle. Surely, those are not the kind of words we should hear from a coach. He went ahead and ridiculed the players. Like he poured vitriol on the goalkeeper in the press. That that was a silly mistake. There are better words to use to describe someone or something. He is a coach alright but his conduct was a bit wanting. We should have facts when arguing.

He was having a certain vendetta against some players. Take for example our good defender Kolo, he was on the bench just because of some misunderstanding with the coach. What of our best striker, Sebastian Muchera. Ask anyone the reason why he was brought in well after the second half?

Please these are pertinent questions that need your indulgence before you claim what you want to. Anyway finally the ''shoka'' has come to Selebwa but in as much as i do not subscribe to sacking of coaches, this particular one was coming.............. he should have woken up and smelt the coffee the moment we lost at KK to Stima.


Meanwhile, Sebastian Muchera is the lone AFC Leopards international after the call ups announced by Patrick Naggi.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Courting Muhiddin

Robin Toskin of the Standard carries a story that sources within Leopards have indicated that Gilobert Selebwa is to be replaced with Twahir Muhiddin this Wednesday.

Muhiddin is a former Harambee Stars coach who resigned after the national team took on sponsorship of a beer company and he found that in conflict with religious beliefs.

The story in the Standard reads:

AFC Leopards are set to formally sack their coach Gilbert Selebwa this morning and replace him with Twahir Muhidin ahead of Saturday’s clash with Gor Mahia.

Matters came to a head after Selebwa, who guided Leopards from the KFF Nationwide League to the top division floored a fan with a jab during a training session on the back of two losses and a draw, an official said.

The official who did not want to be named said Muhiddin, a former Harambee Stars, Bandari and Oserian Fastac coach would be unveiled today.

"We could not take Selebwa’s big headedness anymore. First, he surprised us by telling the management to pay him and players their salaries yet it is something we have done without fail," the official claimed.

Contacted, Selebwa admitted all was not well at the Ingwe den.

"I have heard something is cooking. I will wait before commenting. However, everybody knows how committed I am to Leopards. I wanted to succeed with this team. It is now in the hands of management. It is up to them to do what they think is good for the team," Selebwa said.

Muhiddin, who successfully helped Bandari beat off relegation said he would relish a chance to coach one of the big two clubs, Gor and Leopards but said there was no concrete offer to manage the latter.

"I got a call from the Leopards officials but I told them to give me three to five days to get back to them," Muhiddin said.

He added: "I think this is an opportunity for me given that I came close to coaching Leopards under the chairmanship of Onalo (Peter) and even Gor during Okudo’s (Leslie) time."

Selebwa is credited for reconstructing Leopards to win promotion from the lower league but his critics say he appeared to have rested on his laurels.

And, Leopards’ 1-1 draw at home to Bandari, a week after a 2-0 thumping at Western Stima only helped to accelerate the deteriorating relationship with the management.

But Selebwa’s pie really started crumbling way back in December during their Jamhuri Cup tie against bitter rivals Gor Mahia.

Despite dominating K’Ogalo and taking a 2-1 lead they failed to defend it when goalkeeper Charles Onyango dropped the ball for Habil Otieno to poke home the equaliser and Gor went on to win the trophy by the toss of a coin.

It was goalkeeper Onyango’s fumble again that allowed Bandari’s Rashid Babuhija to pull level last Sunday at the same goal at Coca Cola Stadium triggering Selebwa’s departure.

Nairobi Star reports:



















Meanwhile, Leopards plan another media launch this time for the 2325 SMS service.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Coach's Troubles

video


Reports that have filtered through are that Gilbert Selebwa may be in trouble after all. Watch the coach above explain the 'Selebwa Must Go' chants during the Bandari match.

The Nation indicates that Leopards may be looking for another coach after all.





















The Standard gives us the painful reminder of the goal that took away two points and the celebration that followed.





















Speaking of celebrations, when Leopards scored its goal, Ahmed Farid took the photojournalists camera and took a picture of the scorer Dennis Mukaisi. This celebration is of course lost in translation following the ending of the game.

In the abandoned match against Nairobi City Stars, Jimmy Bageya, the scorer had taken off his boots and made an imaginary call to Uganda and for those troubles, he was booked.

The Standard also has a cartoon about the IDAC fine together with a sports editorial about how Football Kenya should not hit struggling teams hard by fining them immense amounts.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Thrown Away

From where I was seated, one fan summed it up: 'Goal keeper amesambazia Bandari pointi'

But the truth was that Leopards were wasteful against a woeful Bandari side and it wasn't only the 'volleyball-happy' goalkeeper who was to blame for the shared spoils.





















From the Standard Report

At Cocal Cola Stadium, Nairobi, a late strike by substitute Rashid Babuhija denied AFC Leopards their first win of the season as Bandari held 12-time league champions 1-1.

Leopards who were chasing their first win since returning to top-flight football dominated the match and will blame themselves for not killing off their opponents in the first half as they wasted a host of chances.

Leopard’s Ahmed Farid made several forays on the right flank but it was Bandari’s Zuberi Kombo who had the first chance of the match, hitting Leopard’s cross bar with a thunderous 25 yard volley that had beaten custodian Charles Onyango in the 18th minute.

Leopards responded immediately in a sleek counter attack that ended in a goal in the 21st minute when Dennis Mukaisi sent a powerful header past Bandari’s goalkeeper Abdulrahman Swaleh after receiving a cross from Michael Njehia.

Inches wide

Mukaisi beat the offside trap seven minutes later to remain one-on-one with custodian Swaleh, but his clever chip went inches wide.

Alfred Chege hit the side netting twice for Leopards but they could not increase the tally, to go to the breather leading 1-0.

On resumption, Mukaisi was again the culprit, losing a clear chance in the 50th minute.

Bandari’s tactician Douglas Mutua made three quick substitutions that totally turned the game and the pressure finally paid off.

Bandari who lost their last away match 3-0 to Thika, pitched camp on Leopard’s half and goalkeeper Onyango spilled a feeble Ali Abondo’s shot and Babuhija who had only been on the field for less than ten minutes was quick to pounce on it and level the scores.

The result prompted Leopards fans to chant ‘Selebwa must go’ as police had to escort the coach and players to the changing room.

From the KPL website

AFC Leopards grabbed their first points in a 1-1 draw at Coca Cola Stadium against Bandari. But Leopards remain the only winless team in the 16-team log.

AFC Leopards 1 Bandari 1

Dennis Mukaisi scored for Leopards in the 21st minute at the Coca Cola Stadium sending their supporters hopeful that perhaps they would witness their first win of the season.

But the fact that Leopards are quite deficient in many departments told as they were unable to hold on to their lead, surrendering it after Bandari substitute Rashid Babuhija scored in the 86th minute.

Leopards goalkeeper Charles Onyango let a ball bounce off his hands straight into the path of Babuhija who slotted it in.

After three rounds of the Premiership Leopards found themselves the only winless club, at the bottom of the 16-team log, and their supporters naturally looking for scapegoats.

Coach Gilbert Selebwa felt the anger as he was heckled and booed while making substitutions. The fans did not particularly like his taking off Farid Ali and bringing in Jessy Were.

The visiting side, Bandari of Coast Province were happy with the point as reward for the usual tiring long 484 kilometre road travel to play in Nairobi.

And seeing Selebwa's troubles, Bandari coach, former Kenya international midfielder Douglas Mutua, had some consoling words. "They [Leopards] have to be patient. They are mostly a team of hopefuls and the 'Ingwe' fans ought to be patient and give the coach time to mould a strong outfit."

Mutua's side slumped to a 3-0 loss to Thika United in their last upcountry visit and was this time happy with his boys. "We go back to Mombasa to prepare for our next match, at home to Western Stima, on Saturday."

Despite their lack of experience Leopards created enough opportunities for goals and Farid and the Zimbabwean Tafadzwa Dondo should have done better.

Selebwa said Bandari had the advantage of experienced players in key positions such as seasoned Kenya internationals Philip Opiyo and Abdallah Ali Breik and Ajai Ali.

"My players are inexperienced; given more time I believe they also can be some of the best in the league."

TEAMS:

AFC Leopards - 1. Charles Onyango: 23. Alfred Chege, 12. Jackton Opanda, 24. Arthur Weyula, 11. Allan Ogal, 18. Ben Barasa (15. Roy Syamba, 66'), 6. Francis Xavier, 10. Tafadzwa Dondo, 5. Michael Njehia, 9. Dennis Mukaisi (14. Sebastian Muchera, 67'), 7. Farid Ahmed (20. Jessy Were)

Scorer - Dennis Mukaisi (21')

Coach - Gilbert Selebwa

Bandari -19. Swaleh Abdulrahman: 15. Athman Kibwana, 23. Didacus Ochieng', 26. Philip Opiyo, 28. Hassanali Jamal, 5. Abdallah Ali Breik, 11. Ali Abondo, 6. Amir Saidi, 24. Zuberi Kombo (14. Ajai Ali Kaju), 8. Shukri Mohamed, 2. Joseph Maina (20. Anthony Clement, 68')

Scorer - Rashid Babuhija (86')

Coach - Douglas Mutua

Referee - Richard Obare

League Standings
PosTeamPldWonPts
1Thika United327
2Western Stima326
3Sofapaka315
4Red Berets315
5Agrochemicals315
6Mathare Utd314
7Sher Karuturi314
8Tusker314
9KCB314
10Bandari314
11Ulinzi Stars314
12SonySugar313
13Gor Mahia313
14City Stars313
15Chemelil Sugar313
16AFC Leopards301

Full Standings

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Quit Threat

KenyaFootball.com reports that:

AFC Leopards has threatened to pull out of the Kenya Premier League (KPL) if the Independent Disciplinary and Appeals Committee (IDAC) fail to reverse their earlier decision of awarding their opponents (Nairobi City Stars) their abandoned match played on February 8th.

AFC Leopards Chairman Alex Ole Magelo who appeared bitter after learning of the IDAC decision said the ruling was unjustified and barbaric. The club has now opted to appeal for a fair hearing. He said during the Malindi meeting, it was agreed that IDAC will be replaced by Dispute resolution Chamber (DRC) and wondered why KPL was still clinging to IDAC.

Contacted for clarification, Football Kenya Limited (FKL) Titus Kasuve disclosed that nobody should cheat the Kenya soccer fraternity with any ruling emanating from IDAC" That body ceased to exist long time ago. It was replaced by the Dispute resolution Chambers (DRC)" said Kasuve.

Addressing the media at the clubs training ground at State house, Magelo said his club is currently feeding from hand to mouth and yet KPL wants to wipe out whatever small the club is holding on to. He accused IDAC Chairman Professor Moni Wekesa for being used as a puppet of finishing community clubs and vowed to tame them in their own game.

'A replay could have been a fair decision since the match commissar and the referees report absolved both teams from blame and cited lack of security in the venue. We were the away team and nobody should expect us to carry our fans. We can make soccer unmanageable. KPL is destroying soccer instead of building. We had faith in KPL but with this kind of half baked decisions, teams will go nowhere." said Magelo.

"When we lost away in Kakamega to Western Stima, Magelo added, we never complained since we lost fairly. Let us be defeated in the stadium, but not in the KPL boardroom. It’s a shame. We shall play soccer with or without KPL. If they will not reverse that decision, we shall pull out of the KPL” said a bitter Magelo.

Nairobi City Stars (NCS) were awarded the abandoned game on a 2-0 basis against AFC Leopards that was played few weeks ago at the Hope Centre. NCS was leading 1-0.

The story is carried also by Nairobi Star






















The Daily Nation also mentions that Ingwe is appealing against the decision. The appeal is lodged with Football Kenya.










Kenya Times also carries the story. Interestingly, in this story, the Chairman is quoted as saying that the decision to ban Hope Centre was on flimsy reasons.










The KenyaFootball.com story above elicits comments from some fans (some non-Leopards):

All I'm hearing is bla...bla...bla, were going to pull out of the league. They're acting as if they are bigger than the league. Si, muende?? ala, I'm getting tired of this nonsense. If you don't want to be in the league, go.... You can appeal the decision, I have no problems with that.....but kila saa unatu-threaten ati mta enda, enda basi.....Kenya Football is bigger than the AFC leopards. We'll survive if you are there or not.... washenzi hawa!

**

Leopards should be the last team to threaten to leave KPL, because the truth is, they were rigged in at the expense of Eld Mahakama. But I wouldn't fault them if they withdrew and Eldoret Mahakama takes its rightful place.
IDAC's ruling is intriguing as it defers from the precedent, 45 minutes Mathare-Gor game. KPL needs to study and examine whether perimeter fences are a necessity in the first place. This incident could have been fatal if the fence had fallen on the ball-boy minding his business. (Alvin Fundi)

**

That's what you get for being greedy and bending rules to get back into the Premier League. The grass always looks greener on the other side until you get there sometimes.
Anyway, I do like AFC Leopards, I am just saying they should have done things the proper way. It's a learning experience. Don't cry over spilled milk. (Sunguti)

**

Though the Gor issue can go punished. It was unfair for IDAC to punish AFC that way while the allowed this Game to be played there.They KPL have accepted responsdibility and actually apologised in the press to fans!!! No what is this....
I agree clubs should be punished for unruly fans but AFC fans were not unruly.Anybody who went to that Game will tell you that it was a disaster in the waiting somebody could easily have got Killed. The game should be replayed maybe in an empty stadium at the most.Awarding three points to CITY STARS is unfair since the game had 30 mins of play and AFC was having an upper hand. (All Kenyan)

**

Hope Center is a derelict facility suitable only for local inter estate matches...that 10000 fans were in a 4000 capacity ground smacks of incomeptence on the Nairobi City Stars handlers..however..all said and done...this is Kenya...the land of such baffling decisions
(Mike)

**


It works both ways. Host provide security but each team must be able to control its own fans (Star)

**


This is ridiculous. That AFC has large following across the country does not mean any security scare is caused by club supporters. The home team is responsible for security arrangents. FIFA through their proxy (Hatimy and Munro) should have inspected all stadia that will be hosting matches involving 'big clubs' instead of banning the stadium after things have gone wrong. Why wait for the fire to raze a building with accupants then decclare that no one should enter it?
(Mukhovero)

**


Is this fair for AFC? Who agreed that only AFC fans went to the pitcth after the fence went down?

Haaaaaaaa, someone is against INGWE (Barasa FM)

**


Soccer administrators showed ineptness by hosting premier league matches on open grounds. FIFA which is currently running soccer affars in Kenya through Hatimy and Munro should be ashamed of themselves for supervising this kind of madness; yet they pretend to care for security of players and fans at stadia
(Bavon Omwocha)

**


In some good news, Caroll Radull after her previous two loss predictions for the Leopards, finally calls the Bandari game for the Leopards. 2-0 it is.





















Next up: BANDARI

Friday, February 20, 2009

Face Book Groups

As you would expect of a club such as AFC Leopards, there are various meeting points for the fans, especially online!








So, which are the most popular ones?

This one has 321 members. It is an organized group whose officials are Francis Musakali Wanga (Chair and Creator), Panian Eric baretta (Vice Chair), Simekha Jane, Mbaye George, Okumu Karamoja Joseph, Wes Ng’ang’a Asubwa, Alex matheri, Eshitemi Douglas Ndeta, Victor Sudi and Terry Adembesa (members)

You will find interesting snippets especially from the Memories: Tell Us About Your Ingwe Experience thread on the Discussion Board.

This group has 117 members. It is created by Mark Kavita. The wall posts are not too many but a recent one poses the question: Why did Nairobi City Stars create beef on the pitch the past weekend…

This next group has 113 members and is created by Humphrey M’mbwanga Muhindi who is also the President, no less. The Group also has Legal Counsel Felix Majani. There has been some slackening on postings both on the Discussion Forum and the Wall. I guess the Club needs to do some controversial things for some of us to comment, eh? Good job though.

The next Group is this one. And it has 106 members. It is created by Harry Njenga. Again, not a lot of Discussion or Wall postings have been made. However, what it lacks on writings, it makes up on photos! Check out this gem from the photo section.










Fifth in terms of numbers, is this group. It has only 27 members and it is created by Ezekiel Chebunde Lukorito. The other administrator is Jesse Masai. Not a lot of activity going on there.

This Group is sixth in terms of numbers with 23 members. The creator of the Group is Elico Sifuma. The officlas are Dolido Bin Lagosa and Jah’key Kavochi. It also seems to be based in Eldoret.

This one seems to have been abandoned as it has only 2 members.

This one is even more confusing is one which wishes to bring the Friends of AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia together. Good luck about that one Ken Atulo (the creator). It has so far attracted 2 members.

You’ve seen the above. But what about our opponents. How are they doing?

Gor Mahia have this Group with wait for it.. 775 members! On the discussion Forum, someone pleads with Gor officials to make it the first team in Kenya to sell replica jerseys. I think that distinction of first probably went to Thika United. With a model to boot!

Nairobi City Stars has this group with 201 members. Nice one. And it has the map of what they call the Little Fortress. Hopefully, it is a map that Leopards fans never get to use again!

For all others, remember there is a Discussion Forum on the Official Website.

NCS Win Match



The news this morning is that Leopards match against Nairobi City Stars has been awarded to Nairobi City Stars on a 2-0 basis.

The Standard reports:

Hope Centre grounds in Kawangware has been banned from hosting any Kenyan Premier League matches.

The Independent Disciplinary and Appeals Committee (Idac) made the decision yesterday after an estimated 10, 000 fans brought down the perimeter fence and stormed the field, forcing the calling off of the match between hosts Nairobi City Stars and AFC Leopards on February 8.

Idac also fined Leopards Sh500,000 for their fans invasion of the field and a further Sh50,000 for causing damages to property at the stadium.

Hosts Nairobi City Stars were awarded a 2-0 win over Leopards. Stars were leading 1-0 by the time of the match abandonment.

" The field at Hope Centre is banned from hosting Premier League matches until it is sufficiently made secure for high profile matches.

It should first have strong perimeter fencing, immovable seats for spectators and outer walls among other precautions.

"AFC Leopards is fined Sh500,000 for fans invasion of the field and the sum is to be paid within six months. They are also fined a further Sh50,000 for damaging property at the stadium," said Idac chairman Moni Wekesa.

Idac has also fined Gor Mahia Sh500, 000 after their supporters invaded the field during their match against Ulinzi on February 7 at Greensteds School.

The independent body also suspended Gor coach James Siang’a from sitting on the bench for two matches besides a fine of Sh25, 000 for misconduct during the match.

The Greensteds field has also been banned from hosting future Premier League matches until sufficient security measures are put in place.

The ban of beleagured Siang’a is the latest set back to befall the tactician following fans’ call he be sacked following a string of loses.

This report also appears in the Nairobi Star












And the Nation carries the story too. Notice the reference about the Leopards coming back from the jungle!






It is not clear at this stage whether the Leopards will appeal this ruling noting their strongly worded match report on the Official website. From the ruling, it also appears that the sum of Kshs. 500,000 is not payable unless a similar offence is repeated within six months. The sum of Kshs. 50,000 is however payable within 30 days.

Download Ruling here (PDF)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Electrocuted




At the end of the weekend, that was the headline as Leopards were beaten 2-0 by Western Stima.

The pre-match hype had been as usual focusing on Leopards wide support in Western Kenya.





















Some columnists even called it a Western Derby. Carol Radull to her credit thought Leopards would score a goal! For the second week running, she gave her prediction as a 2-1 loss by Leopards.





















In the end, a meek Leopards succumbed 2-0 to Stima. The Standard carried the brief match report.





















Meanwhile, Mathare United pleaded with a new set of fans: the Valentine Ladies to cheer them up against Zambian 'giants' (tsk tsk) Zesco United. They lost 1-3 at home.





















Supersport announced that the Leopards versus Gor match will be televised across Africa. With the current form of Leopards, and ready excuses by the coach (see Standard report above), Ingwe Fan is not holding his breath. Nation has the report.











The only consolation is that Gor Mahia has been hit by rotten from too. They play midweek in the League but the current positions are that Gor is second last whilst AFC is third last.

And still on Gor, a new song is out. Joluo Oparo Gor Mahia. Check this Standard report out.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Uchumi Sale



The Daily Nation carries a report today about the sale of the replica shirts of Leopards at the Uchumi Supermarket outlets. Surely there are no excuses for not adorning yourself in a Leopards jersey, probably for the very first time.








Meanwhile, the Standard carried two letters to the Sports Editor yesterday about ... yes, you guessed it... last Sundays match that still draws the ire of Leopards fans. Here are the two pieces by Simiyu Katiambo and Stephen Manyasi. Notice how these proud Leopards fans refer to the club as 'mighty' and 'big guns.'

Spare Leopards Fans the Blame

AFC Leopards members and fans, were disappointed by ugly incidents in last Sunday’s Kenyan Premier League (KPL) match between Nairobi City Stars and our mighty club.

Rowdy fans brought down the perimeter fence and stormed the pitch, forcing the match referee to end the match prematurely.









Leopards fans believe in fair play and would not behave in a manner that will undermine the game.

However, with due respect to Nairobi City Stars and the KPL, the poor condition of the Hope centre Stadium does not qualify to host such a high profile match. The stadium can only hold a maximum of 1,000 fans yet over 10,000 fans turned up for the match.

The perimeter fence in question was sub-standard and could not withstand the crowds that were obviously surging towards the pitch due to lack of space.

The hosts did not provide enough security and the few policemen provided were stationed at their cash collection points. Nairobi City Stars should be held responsible for the abandonment.

I urge KPL to stop Nairobi City Stars from hosting further matches at the Hope Centre unless the general conditions of the stadium are improved.

(Simiyu Katiambo, Nairobi)










Hope Centre Is Substandard

It is unfortunate that Kenyans only wait for tragedies to occur in order to learn.

Watching AFC Leopards/Nairobi City Stars match at Hope Centre on Sunday made me sad. From the start, I felt something was wrong. Why did people in their right senses feel a match involving big guns like Leopards can be played in such small pitches?










The stands were too small to accommodate the thousands of fans who turned up. The fence protecting fans from entering the playing area was made of wood and chain link and this put players and match officials at risk and I was not surprised when fans took only a few minutes to pull down the fence.

Security was inadequate as there were only four policemen. Are we serious or just waiting for fans to die then mourn? Do we know the chaos, emotions and passions football elicits in fans?

Such fields do not meet FIFA standards and should not host KPL matches.

(Stephen R Manyasi, Kitale)










Oh, and guys, there is a match tomorrow against Western Stima at the Bukhungu Stadium. Lest we forget!!!


Thursday, February 12, 2009

3pm Kick Off

Reset your alarms!

Yes, the Kenya Premier League has announced that the Premier League matches will kick off at 3pm.

So, is this to ensure that the games are finished in good time so that the players get back to the club house before sunset? Obviously not. The cited reason is so that fans can go and watch the English Premier League matches. Sigh.

Nairobi Star

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

More About Hope

Two stories related to the weekend match appear in todays newspapers.

The Daily Metro quotes the KPL Managing Director as saying the Hope Centre ground had already been blacklisted. Apparently, it had been agreed in the past that when big teams were to play against NCS, they would use a different pitch.





















In the meantime, the Daily Nation quotes the NCS officials stating that only 2,000 fans had paid to enter the Ground.

City Stars general manager, Stephen Rigby, on Tuesday said post-match investigations by the club discovered three large holes that fans had created on the wire fence to enter the venue.

“We sold 2,000 official tickets for the match but as was clearly seen there were more than double that number watching the match. Most did not pay to watch what was an exciting match,” Rigby said.

By Tuesday evening, the KPL had received the referee’s report and were waiting for the commissioner’s report before making a decision.

Link

New Wine, Old Skins

Yesterday Gor Mahia let in another five goals during a friendly match against El Merreikh of Sudan. And we thought it was just military teams (APR and Ulinzi) that could beat Gor!

One of the things noted however was that Gor having recently unveiled their logo played in a kit that had their old logo. Confusing?

Well, its a case of 'pot, kettle, black' since Leopards over the weekend also did the same!













The club turned out kitted in the uniform they had first used against Gor during the Madaraka Day Cup game in 2008. Leopards had lost the match 2-1.

With the launch of the new kit and the re-branding of the club together with the sale of replica shirts, it was therefore surprising that the team turned out in the old kit, bearing the old logo. Hopefully, this one of the very few lapses that will characterize our new season.

It is bad enough for the Daily Nation (on Saturday 7th February) to use a logo of the team that has never been in use except by internet lovers having been first created at Kenyapage.com but even worse for the club to countenance this.
















Unless of course, this was just a case of having to officially say goodbye to the old skins in front of its fans. Talk about established teams having trouble to let go of something. Incidentally, the official Gor Mahia website still has their old logo. Sigh.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Aftermath













Following the aborted match against Nairobi City Stars, some interesting views have been exchanged on Radio Jambo in respect of the 'coming down of the fence'.

Leopards fans have called in to the station and insisted that the Ground was too small and most of them were unable to follow the match.

Those who have stated that Leopards were 0-1 down of course forget that just before the incident, Leopards had the upper hand and were breathing down the necks of NCS.

Those who have stated that no further increase in the number of people who were at the Ground forget that some of us saw people getting access to the Ground through the shrubbery.

Other media have carried the following reports

Nairobi Star




















Daily Metro
















The KPL website has a story on the match.

Even if it was only on Leopards' return to the KPL after two seasons in the lower divisions, their followers were too many and perhaps too robust for the Hope Centre facility to deal with.

The modest perimeter fencing gave in to a leaning multitude in the 60th minute...

The Audacity of World Hope


We rolled into the World Hope Centre at exactly 4pm with some of us donning the new AFC Leopards replica shirts. Charges were priced at 50 shillings, 100 shillings and 250 shillings for the VIP.











With the recession in mind, we paid our 50 Shillings and were let into the stadium through the red gate and were glad and sad at the same time. Glad that AFC fans had filled the stadium (or ground or Centre or field with a chicken perimeter fence) and sad that there was barely n space for anyone to watch the game.

Almost five layers of people were crammed near the fence meaning the shortest of us had to mimic the Biblical Zacchaues to even dream of catching a glimpse of our boys.










The enterprising amongst us looked for some brick stones to stand on to view the match. The unenterprising, well, they only watched people heads!!!










At some point, some fans disgusted that they could not watch the game due to the human mass in front of them resorted to shoving those who had blocked their view. Clearly, this ground was bursting to the seems.










The first half ended goalless and yet there seemed to be more people getting into the ground through the outer fence which was a mash of foliage.

In the second half, eight minutes had barely gone when Nairobi City Stars scored against the run of play. The scorer, Bagiye was immediately booked by the referees he took off his boot and pretended to make a phone call.

Leopards made substitutions bringing on Shikanda and Njihia and they immediately turned on the sparkle.

But as the game swung in Leopards favour, the perimeter fence behind the Leopards goalkeeper gave way. The referee stopped play and in the ensuing confusion with other fans trying to find out what was happening, the fence came down and fans poured to the pitch.

The match was called off. As fans streamed out of the pitch, the red gate remained locked with a PADLOCK and it seemed no one was available to open the gate. Memories of the Nakumatt incident a few days before came to fore as it appeared the stadium management was not keen to open the gate for fear of fans entering the ground (to watch an abandoned match?) Surely!

Stadium security ought to be taken a bit more seriously to avoid incidences that may lead to lots of damage. Hard questions ought to posed. How many fans were admitted to the Ground? What is the capacity of this Ground? How many police officers were detailed to man the Ground?

If the League intends to bring out crowds to the stadia, then they better be prepared to ensure that the safety of fans is assured. Those of us who have young fans who are pre-teenhood will not wish to expose them to such dangers.

If this is not done, we will be bordering on the Hopeless situation, at a Ground that is supposed to inspire Hope.

AFC Leopards - 1. Charles Onyango, 11. Allan Ogal, 3. Collins Kisuya, 2. Robert Indimuli, 15. Charles Odawo (5. Michael Njihia, 55'), 6. Francis Xavier (captain), 10. Tafadzwa Dondo, 17. Tom Wango (8. Geoffrey Shikanda, 55'), 13. Roy Syamba, 14. Sebastian Muchera, 7. Farid Ahmed

Top Of The Log

As Charles Nyende ended in his preview of the match against NCS, Leopards were top of the League before the season kick off due to the alphabetical order of the teams!















Notice how even the DSTV Channel 200 has gone blue and white hoops!!!