Saturday, April 25, 2009

Leopards and Mat U Saga

AFC Leopards threaten to pull out of KPL

AFC Leopards have threatened to pull out of the Kenya Premier League (KPL) if their complaints are not adequately addressed.

Club Chairman Alex Ole Magelo cited poor officiating in their matches, substitution of referees at the eleventh hour without a valid reason and the haphazard changing of their match venue. The club boss further decried the IDAC rulings that KPL has made them final and unchallengeable.

Addressing a well attended press conference held at the State House Grounds, Magelo who was flanked by Club organizing Secretary Timothy Lirumbi and club treasurer Duncan Angode said they will not honour this weekend’s KPL match against Mathare United if it will be held at Kasarani.

He said even a layman knows th club home ground is at Coca Cola National Stadium and wondered why their weekend clash against Mathare United was being switched to the home venue of their opponents.

A bitter Magelo appealed to Football Kenya Limited (FKL) and the World Governing football body-FIFA to take a deep look in the running of the KPL to avoid turning the very sport of football into disrepute.

“We are deeply touched by poor officiating by the current trend of biased officiating. A case in mind is our match against Sofapaka FC at Kasarani when the centre referee disallowed an own goal citing offside which has never happened in the world.” said Magelo.

“It became more suspicious, Magello added, for my club when centre referee who had been assigned the match and even attended the pre-match session was substituted at the eleventh hour without a valid reason, only for the centre
referee in question to turn up for the match and mismanage it at our detriment,” said Magelo.

The club has also raised a red flag warning that they are reviewing their stand on the Supersport grants that appears meant to blackmail clubs and fix them in a corner. “Yes, I’ m putting it clear that we are considering pulling out of the grants scheme altogether and pursue individual sponsorship deals that will allow us to live again.” KPL has kept mum on various complaints raised by my club and now we are wondering why they have allowed the controversial Hope centre grounds to be used and yet it was condemned as unfit?” Wondered Magelo.

This story was also ran by all the leading dailies and also made the Sports News

The Standard report

Kenya Premier League (KPL) is being accused of stage managing AFC Leopards’ ouster from the league through arbitrary change of venue.

Leopards chairman, Alex ole Magelo, said this after an e-mail written by KPL Chief Executive Officer Jack Oguda to Mathare United chairman Bob Munro accidentally went to Leopards secretary Richard Ekhalie.

Munro is also the KPL chairman. Oguda’s note written on Monday says: "They have hit the nail in the coffin and are accepting to withdraw from the grant."

Oguda adds: "Advise on reply and it is sad that they are saying KPL is manipulating the fixtures."

Magello claims this email written to club secretary Richard Ekhalie was not meant for the recipient indicated on the address and sees it as an attempt between the two KPL officials to manipulate fixtures.

Magello questions why Oguda should consult the KPL chairman yet he is an interested party since his club participates in the top league and are Leopards’ opponents on Saturday.

The Standard comment

They may have spent a decade trying to build a credible, competitive Kenyan Premier League.

Yet by the click of a mouse, the KPL CEO Jack Oguda let out a cat — a big one for that matter, when a scandalous e-mail addressed to the league’s chairman, Bob Munro saying AFC Leopards "have hit the nail in their coffin" has left the league body rocking.

The officials, both in KPL and AFC Leopards were still haggling over the semantics of the phrase.

Leopards’ swift and hard-hitting response is worrying. Leopards chairman Alex ole Magelo, said: "The gloves are off. The correspondence with the chairman is in bad taste and it confirms our fears of certain people in KPL working to condemn AFC Leopards to a death bed," Magelo said.

Oguda was at pains to explain how the letter he authored strayed to Richard Ekhalie’s e-mail box.

He said: "I wrote the mail but the words in question do not mean what Leopards have interpreted. I meant that if such institutional clubs like Tusker are queuing for the SuperSport grant, what would be the effect on a community supported club like Leopards."

My take is that with such frosty relations between Leopards and the KPL and anybody related to Mathare United, utmost caution should be taken in dealing with arising matters.

KPL responds to AFC Leopards

The war of words between AFC Leopards and Kenya Premier League is set to continue, with the latter sending its response to AFC Leopards. Here in is the communication in full:

Regarding your recent communications, please note the following relevant points:

- KPL is likely the most democratic sports organization in Kenya. In KPL all 16 clubs have equal shares and votes. Unlike in the past or some other leagues, the policies and rules are applied to all clubs equally.

- Since our company was incorporated over five years ago, all decisions have been made by consensus. No club has ever insisted on a vote. The decisions are binding on all clubs.

- As agreed by our clubs, SuperSport designates the matches to be broadcast live in Kenya and Africa and our clubs agreed to respect their choices.

- The matches designated by SuperSport for broadcast this weekend are Nairobi City Stars vs Sofapaka and AFC Leopards vs Mathare United. As SuperSport is committed to another event on Saturday and Coca-Cola stadium is already booked on Sunday, the matches are scheduled to be played at Kasarani Stadium on Sunday.

- Of the ten matches broadcast by SuperSport so far this year, six of the home clubs played in a stadium which was not their home ground.

However, a club is also free to decide to opt out of the agreed arrangements on live-TV matches and associated SuperSport funding.

Consequently, you can either honour the match at 3:00 p.m. at Kasarani Stadium on Sunday OR choose to opt out of the SuperSport arrangements and funding and play at 3:00 p.m. at the Coca-Cola Stadium on Saturday.

Please inform me in writing of your decision by noon tomorrow (Thursday, April 23rd) at the latest.

If I do not hear from you by then, it will be assumed that you agree to honour the match at 3:00 p.m. at Kasarani Stadium on Sunday.

Jack Oguda

Comments to the story

Tash wrote what is the unverified Leopards response

23rd March 2009

Jack Oguda


In response to the two options you gave us regarding the live broadcast matches, AFC Leopards hereby opts out of the SuperSport arrangements and funding mainly because the current haphazard broadcasting scheduling is not beneficial to us. It, in its current form, denies us our much cherished home advantage status while loosing us revenue. We therefore expect to play on Saturday the 25th of April at 3PM at Coca Cola Stadium and expect the rest of our match fixtures not to be interfered with. However, we are ready and willing to be included in the SuperSport arrangements and funding in future when and if the broadcasting arrangement is regularized and the league ran in a more credible, transparent and professional manner. As you ponder on whether to regularize operations, we also request KPL to furnish all clubs with the contracts between SuperSport and KPL and clarify how much money is each club entitled to for the live broadcast of each match. While on it, also clarify to clubs why they should not be paid the specified amount at the end of each month after broadcast instead of waiting indefinitely for monies they even don’t have an idea of the total sum. Please also be kind enough to tell us when and if AFC Leopards will be paid our live broadcast share for our already broadcasted matches, and how much.

Kind regards,

Richard Ekhalie,
Secretary General
AFC Leopards S.C.

Blonquist wrote

KPL should not use Supersport story to protect themselves. Tunajua wao ni nani. By the way i thought the OB van was brought to televise matches that are played out of Nairobi but they still insist on televising Nairobi matches and now AFC Leopards cannot play at home? I apreciate what supersport has done to the Kenya Premier League but it is time for them to honour clua wishes of having home advantage by playing at home. By the way, in England a broadcasting company cannot even try to fix a match to suit them then why in Kenya? I thought KPL was runned by members of the 16 clubs but it looks like the quarks act as supersport puppets. With or without the money, the league will go on. Mimi na wakenya wenzangu hatutakubali wenzetu wa AFC leopards wadhulumiwe

Anonymous wrote

leopards si mulisaidiwa kuingia ligi tuonyesheni mpira uwanjani,pesa mnapata lakini upuzi,sofapaka walikuwa na nyinyi kwa nyasi,saizi wako wapi,mpeleke upus uko,kukimbia imawashinda ovyo na bure kabisa.

Man Man wrote

wewe No.3 just shut the hell up. Ukona akili lakini haufikiri. Leopards walisaidiwa na nani?

Collorado wrote

I kindly feel that response is adequate and bold. That demonstrate the Kind of leadearship kenya has been lacking. As much as we need money lets not compromise our values. Supersport as it stands is and will remain 2 be a foreign company and can not determine the future governance of football in this country. Olemagero, thank you for shanning incompetency in KPL, and may the 6 other clubs and many more learn from AFC LEOPARDS, chui, that money is not everything.

Hatimy demands Munro investigations, AFC demand supersport contract

AFC Leopards demands supersport contract

AFC LEOPARDS is now demanding Kenya Premier League (KPL) to furnish clubs with the contracts details between sponsors SuperSport Limited and KPL and clarify how much money each club is entitled to for the live broadcast of each match.

The club further wanted KPL to clarify clubs why they should not be paid the specified amount at the end of each month after broadcast instead of waiting indefinitely for monies they even don’t have an idea of the total sum.

At the same time, Football Kenya Limited Chairman Mohamed Hatimy has instructed KPL senior Managemnt to ask Chief Executive officer (CEO) Jack Oguda who has been accused of manipulation of fixtures in favour of Mathare United to step down.

Hatimy in a E-mail called upon KPL to appoint an independent committee that will exclude KPL chairman Bob Munro since he chairs Mathare United, to go ahead and investigate his conduct.

Hatimy further asked Oguda to choose between KPL and Mathare United since this raise a serious conflict of interest. “There seems, Hatimy added, to be a serious governance crisis at the KPL company with regards to who makes what decision. This needs to address with the aim of clearly redefining the role of the CEO which currently is controversial. You need to cushion the CEO from accusation of conflict of interest in the performance of his duties.”

“He is an official of Mathare fc which puts him in bad position when decisions are to be made involving Mathare United. A system needs to be put in place to insulate him from the attacks he is receiving now. You must move with speed to allay fears from the stakeholders about the manner in which weighty issues are being handled so casually.” said Hatimy.

Hatimy went on to demand justice noting that fairness and transparency must be seen to be done to AFC Leopards in the case noting that without the truth, it will be impossible to reconcile the two parties.

Leopards Marketing Director Richard Ekhalie’s letter to KPL demanded to be told when and if AFC Leopards will be paid their live broadcast share for their already broadcasted matches.

Ekhalie announced that his club has hereby opted out of the SuperSport arrangements and funding mainly because the current haphazard broadcasting
scheduling is not beneficial to them. He said the switching of Leopards match against Mathare United from Coca Cola National Stadium to Kasarani denies the team the much cherished home advantage status while loosing them revenue.

“We therefore expect to play tomorrow (Saturday the 25th of April) at 3pm at Coca Cola Stadium and expect the rest of our match fixtures not to be interfered with.

“However, Ekhaliue added, we are ready and willing to be included in the SuperSport arrangements and funding in future when and if the broadcasting arrangement is regularized and the league ran in a more credible, transparent
and professional manner. However, Hatimy clarified that without the truth, there will be no justice while without justice there will be no reconciliation and urged KPL to put their act together and address the issues raised by AFC Leopards immediately.

AFC Leopards Chairman Alex Ole Magelo said it was unfair for KPL to change their home match this weekend from their traditional venue of Coca-Cola to the Moi International Sports centre Kasarani without their consent.

Magelo said his club had already booked the match in advance and wondered why KPL decided to switch the match to Kasarani without prior permission.

“We are perturbed by KPL’s unilateral decision of changing venues without informing the concerned parties. As the home team, we believe our match
against Mathare United must be played at the Coca Cola National Stadium but not at Kasarani. We had already booked the venue and if there was any change, we must be informed in advance.” said a bitter Magelo

Further comments have been made

Leopards get their wish but will it count? asks the Daily Nation

AFC Leopards fiercely guarded home advantage comes under extra focus on Saturday when they host champions Mathare United at Coca-Cola National Stadium in a Kenyan Premier League match.

The Leopards versus Mathare United match has generated a lot of news this week, of the wrong type, and inevitably stands out as the must-watch tie.

Cried foul

Facts. The encounter was rescheduled to be held on Sunday at Moi International Sports Centre as a SuperSport featured match. But Leopards cried foul saying it was their home match and under no circumstanced would they allow it to be moved to MISC, where Mathare play their home matches.

KPL gave them an ultimate: Play at MISC on Sunday under SuperSport’s cameras or risk forfeiting the multi-million shilling grant sponsorship.

And so, AFC Leopards now find themselves playing at their familiar home at Coca-Cola Stadium where they have yet to register a win three months into the season.

“All the happenings of the week have brought mental disturbances to my players. But we know Mathare are a consistent side with quality players and we will go out there positively, taking the game to them,” Leopards coach Edward Manoah said.

Manoah said Leopards maiden league win last weekend, 1-0 against Sony Sugar, was no reason to celebrate and his team needed to work harder to repeat such a result.

The Sony win has proved costly for the former giants with three players, defender Jackton Opanda, midfielder Roy Syamba and striker Dennis Mukaisi recovering from injury and doubtful for today.

Leopards can, however, look to Harambee Stars trialist Sebastian Muchera, who has scored twice in two matches.

Mathare United edged out Western Stima 2-1 at Coca-Cola Stadium to register only their third win of the season and will feel confident of another result against the bottom placed team in the league table.

Edgar Ochieng, Anthony Kimani, Collins Tiego, Paul Ambembo and 2008 KPL coach of the year Francis Kimanzi gives the Mathare fans that extra assurance.

Testing feline fury, reports the Standard

A fixture pitting Mathare United and AFC Leopards on any day is often peppered with powder keg and spice with pre-match banter.

It is also that time when Mathare United chairman Bob Munro takes leave from the VIP dais to jostle with swallows for a bird’s eye view from the highest point of the terraces if only to escape the venom spewed by the unforgiving Leopards fans. Then, it takes a controversial call by a referee, especially against Leopards, to set off the firecrackers!

It is Ingwe fans’ considered view that Mathare United’s prosperity is at the expense of their struggling feline.

KPL website has the story

Week's sideshow may work against resurgent Leopards

Posted Friday, April 24, 2009 at 20:33

Again, the jostling for the covetous top-five places in the Kenyan Premier League will be the weekend highlight, never mind the hullabaloo about bottom team AFC Leopards refusing to play a scheduled "television match" on Sunday at the International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

The KPL clubs do not know what view to take of Leopards who claim that, instead of playing at the Coca Cola Stadium on Saturday, they would be depleting their chances of a good performance, and perhaps cash revenue, if they were to play at Kasarani.

The non-complaining clubs would point out that, last year, in 14 out of KPL's 22 "TV matches" a team surrendered the right to play at home. This year, a home team has complied to move its match to a TV venue -- Kasarani or Coca Cola Stadium -- six times out of the ten played so far.

Furthermore, decision that KPL clubs would comply with practical ways of running the league were reached on by senior managers of all the 16 Premiership teams. This no doubt included Leopards' secretary general, Richard Ekhale, a man who has gone out to lambasting the KPL secretariat for allegedly coercing his club to play at Kasarani.

Clubs were also finding it unfortunate, the remarks from AFC quarters that there are KPL officials biased against Leopards because they were affiliated to other clubs.

If Leopards' thinking was to be upheld some fear that the trend would trash a previously agreed upon -- by all members -- method of running the KPL.

Were AFC Leopards to win the 2009 Premiership, the club boss, Alex ole Magelo, would automatically become the KPL Chairman to replace Mathare United's Robert Munro. That is how the rules are, as crafted by all the 16 owners of the Premiership, who did not infer lack of integrity among any of their members when they made the rule.

The Premiership ownership is therefore clearly asking Leopards to play by the rules set up by an institution and stop cherry picking the ones that suit them and chucking what they dim inconvenient.

Nevertheless, this weekend, there are those who will only give little thought to the shenanigans stirred up by Leopards, arguing that the team, struggling in apathy since the beginning of season before a sensational first win at Sony Awendo last week, were using it as a ploy to misdirect their tribulations.

Table toppers Sofapaka and second-placed Western Stima will each be going flat out for victory while on the other hand hoping their rival slips up.

There is plenty of incentive for a chasing trio. Third-placed Thika United, fourth Nairobi City Stars and No. 5 Tusker have a chance of assuming the leadership on goal difference should Sofapaka and Western Stima lose.

The interest of others, including Sher, Ulinzi and defending champions Mathare United, will also be to win and jump into the cushion of a top five .

In the bottom rungs, battling swords are out for sides intent on marching out of the relegation zone. In particular for basement team Leopards, scoring goals and grabbing victories will more likely remove them from their misery quicker than the limelight-stealing cameo of their officials.

(16)AFC Leopards v (8)Mathare United

Two weeks ago, coach Edward Manoah tinkered with the team. Against KCB, Leopards started without goalie Charles Onyango, defender Allan Ogal, midfielders Humphrey Oyando, Geoffrey Shikanda and Tafadzwa Dondo and striker Jesse Were.

There was a marked improvement in the team which drew 1-1 with KCB at the Coca Cola Stadium. Even though striker Sebastian Muchera scored their equalizer in the 79th minute he missed two or more opportunities for a side that showed a knack for creativity.

Following this outing with a stunning 1-0 win over Sony Sugar in Nyanza may not have surprised those who had seen Leopards play promisingly against KCB.

Rather than be dismissed as a hapless bottom team Leopards can be expected to come into Sunday's clash with Mathare United as a team capable of making life difficult for the champions.

But Leopards will be under pressure to prove that they can play winning football with the help of home advantage because of the raucous manner they rejected playing under TV cameras on Sunday.

They will be meeting a stern Mathare United side which had to make a mental change of the logistics after the match reverted to the Coca Cola Stadium.

No one can say Mathare United had any qualms about playing a home match away from home. This season they have gone out twice under such circumstances and won. Beating Agro Chemicals 2-0 and Western Stima 2-1 at Coca Cola Stadium which can hardly be described as an uncomfortable venue for the champions.

United will be returning to last week's scene of their win over Stima which really put the champions' campaign back on track after early season misfiring. Anthony Khadudu, the scorer of a brace over Stima may just have solved the striking problem that had plagued the otherwise all-round gifted Mathare United.

If Leopards were hoping to catch Mathare on a low, a luxury enjoyed by six teams which have so far either beaten or held United, this will perhaps not be the time. A thriller is expected whose result should overshadow the verbal sparring at the moment noisiest at the Leopards' corner.

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