Monday, March 19, 2012

Post Match: Gor Mahia (A)

The 71st league meeting between Leopards and Gor Mahia ended in a barren draw but the off field antics dominated the action with play held up for 25 minutes after irate Gor fans took issue with the referee for showing their player a red card.

Here is how the media reported the clash:

James Waindi of Standard reported:-

A local derby that promised much delivered precious little as arch rivals Gor and AFC Leopards played out a goalless draw at the Nyayo National Stadium in a match that had to be stopped for close to 25 minutes due to crowd trouble.

Gor also ended the match with 10 men after the sending off of second half substitute Victor Ali for a dangerous tackle on Amon Muchiri.

Everything was going on well until the 67th minute when referee David Omweno sent off Ali after a dangerous tackle on Muchiri. Omweno and his two assistants Peter Kereini and Gilbert Cheruiyot, were held hostage on the field before they were escorted out of the pitch through gate six by armed police.

It took the Gor players’ convincing techniques to quell their fans anger and allow the match to go on as they blamed the officials for biased officiating and looked determined to stop the proceedings.

Violence spilled outside the stadium after the match with fans of both teams engaging each other in running battles with stones and a number of casualties were reported.
FKF chairman Sam Nyamweya termed the incident as unfortunate and said future derbies between the two sides would be handled by foreign referees.

At least for Gor coach Bobby Ogolla’s men there was no injury-time heartache, having suffered five defeats in a row coming into the match. 

For Leopards, who had numerical advantage their winning run in the league was checked, but their coach Jan Koops still remains unbeaten in the league competition.

Gor coach made four changes on the team that lost 2-0 to champions Tusker in midweek, bringing in Chris Wekesa in place of Collins Omondi, Anthony Akumu in place of Collins Okoth, Kevin Omondi and Rama Salim instead of Victor Ali and Baldwin Ngwa.

Leopards coach Jan Koops on the other hand just made a single change from the team that came from behind to pip Muhoroni Sugar 2-1 in their last league match a week ago, giving international striker Victor Ochieng his first start since he joined the team.

Gor enjoyed early possesion and were generally better in midfield but lacked ideas in the opponent’s box.

Rama Salim tested Leopards custodian Patrick Matasi with a thunderous free kick from 30 yards just after two minutes and three minutes later it was Leopard’s turn as Ochieng found his striking partner Allan Wanga but Wycliffe Kasaya’s timely intervention thwarted the international striker.

Ogolla had to replace Salim in the 34th minute as the diminutive midfielder seemed to be struggling after he clashed with Edwin Baraza in the 16th minute. 

Jimmy Bagaye had Leopard’s best chance of the half in the 43rd minute when he remained in a one-on-one situation with Kasaya, but he shot straight to the hands of the custodian as the sides went to half time tied 0-0.

Ogolla brought in Ali and Moses Odhiambo in the second half in place of Ibrahim Kitawi, and George Midenyo, but could still not breach the tight Leopards defence.

THE nastiest tackle witnessed in the young Kenyan Premier League season rubbed the shine off one of the best games so far and which, just mercifully, went the full distance after Gor Mahia-leaning hooligans took the law into their hands over the incident.

There was no question whether Gor’s Victor Ali Abondo should have been ejected after a horrific high boot lunge at AFC Leopards’ defender Amon Muchiri in the 66th minute.

When referee Davies Omweno showed Abondo the red card, some reckless supporters of Gor Mahia protested the decision, throwing objects on the pitch. In the end police had to lob tear gas canisters onto the southern-end terraces to disperse the rioting mob.

The game resumed after an over 15-minute break and unsurprisingly ended in the same competitive and entertaining spirit that it had been all afternoon.

Abondo just changed the face of the match in which players played hard but not with malice. Indeed there were plenty of hard tackles and times when men went down; more of Gor Mahia’s than Leopards, in fact.

But when Abondo, who must have been watching from the bench -- before he came on for Ibrahim Kitawi in the 48th minute -- appeared to have ill intent while fouling Eric Masika almost immediately, the referee took note, only verbally cautioning him.

Abondo had used his elbow for a cynical nudge on the Leopards’ defender when both went up for an aerial ball. Later when he came to challenging Muchiri, many cringed as Abondo’s menacing boot studs thumped into the upper thigh of the Leopards’ defender.

Kevin Omondi who had one of the sterling performances for Gor Mahia in the midfield felt the brunt of some severe attention from Leopards’ men, one of which was when Edwin Wafula was stopping him from riding into the box from the left in the 59th minute. Wafula was yellow carded.

And that was not Omondi’s first rough treatment, shared with other Gor teammates including, most especially, Kitawi and the other midfield man Rama Salim.

Salim, in fact got it from the first whistle, the Leopards’ captain, Martin Imbalambala, clattering him inside the first minute.

The Gor Mahia play-maker had received a few other knocks, notably a body shaking one in the 15th minute, before a painful one from Imbalambala in the 21st minute drew referee Omweno’s first yellow card in the 21st minute.

And then Salim did not appear to have the tenacity to continue and was replaced by John Kiplang’at in the 35th minute.

But all this was through some terrific thrilling football; purely because Gor Mahia, the underdogs, fully stood up to the pre-match form team Leopards.

Only the foolish attitude of some players and in the end stupidly reckless trouble makers almost ruined the day.

It was not the referee who prompted the players whose point was none other than putting the game into disrepute with lack of consideration for the well-being of fellow professionals.

In the play itself, plenty of ball possession and excellent distribution by a fantastic Leopards midfield of Imbalambala, Salim “Kinje” Ramadhan, Bernard Mang’oli and Victor Ochieng’ brought out the best of tactical defending by Gor Mahia.

On the counter, Anthony “Teddy” Akumu, Salim and Kevin Omondi retaliated with attacks that kept it an-end-to-end affair, albeit Gor Mahia not benefitting from good use of the ball by their men at the head of the attack, Kitawi and Midenyo.

Alertness in defense was at its admirable best and no team was going to beat the other by exploiting mistakes. It demanded that whoever got an opportunity, he had to force it through and none nearly succeeded against either Wycliffe Kasaya in the Gor Mahia goal or his opposite number Patrick Matasi.

Kevin Omondi had a good shot on target in the 26th minute but Matasi gathered the ball without a problem.

But for Leopards Allan Wanga tried several times, notably in the 35th minute. Kasaya safely stopped the shot after Wanga had connected a Bagaye assist.

In the 40th minute Ramadhan blasted into Kasaya's safe gloves. On 43 minutes, another flowing move by Leopards had Ramadhan again taking the final shot but it did not trouble Kasaya. It was followed by another Bageya effort that Kasaya stopped.

In the 51st minute Bageya broke into the right and just before losing the ball on the goal line, cut back beautifully, a 45 degree cross finding the on-rushing Imbalambala perfectly but the Leopards skipper’s header went above the cross bar.

Abondo had some useful contribution to Gor Mahia, his 54th minute free kick attempt being saved by Matasi.

The crowd trouble interruption had a big effect on the tempo after the restart on 68 minutes. Leopards could not capitalise on playing with a man more than Gor.

But on 79 minutes when 65th minute substitute Mike Baraza was fouled at the edge of the box, Wanga's shot was saved by Kasaya.

Only Kevin Omondi kept going hard at Leopards and when on 88 minutes he was fouled by Rwanda international defender Jonas Nahimana, the free kick by Moses Odhiambo went off target.

GOR MAHIA - 23. Wycliffe Kasaya: 19. Solomon Nasio (captain), 3. Christopher Wekesa, 15. David Owino, 5. Musa Mohammed, 6. Anthony “Teddy” Akumu, 14. Kevin Omondi, 30. Moses Otieno, 12. George Midenyo (25. Moses Odhiambo, 55’), 21. Rama Salim (11. John Kiplang’at, 35’), 29. Ibrahim Kitawi (10. Victor Ali Abondo, 46’)
Reserves - 1. Frederick Onyango, Gk; 7. Yusuf Juma, 18. Ivan Anguyo, 24. Demonde Selenga
Coach - John “Bobby” Ogolla
AFC LEOPARDS - 1. Patrick Matasi: 5. Edwin Wafula, 14. Amon Muchiri (26. Robert Syongoh), 40. Eric Masika, 17. Jonas Nahimana, 4. Martin Imbalambala (captain), 50. Jimmy Bageya, 22. Bernard Mang’oli, 9. Allan Wanga, 18. Salim “Kinje” Ramadhan, 34. Victor Ochieng’ (11. Mike Baraza, 65’)
Reserves - 19. Barnabas Tiema, Gk; 8. Laurent Tumba, 10. Charles Okwemba, 7. Oscar Kadenge, 12. Augustine Etemesi
Coach - Jan Koops [The Netherlands]
* * * *
Referee - Davies Omweno
Assistant ref - Peter Kiereini
Asst ref - Gilbert Cheruiyot
Reserve ref - Nasur Doka
Match commissioner - John Ngunjiri

Futaa wrote:-

Ten-man Gor K’Ogalo Mahia were held to a goalless draw by visiting AFC Ingwe Leopards in their Kenyan Premier League match played on Sunday 18 March, at the Nyayo National Stadium.  

The match started on a high with K’Ogalo’s Rama Salim testing AFC Ingwe Leopards’ keeper Patrick Matasi with a well taken 5th minute free-kick. 

Matasi proved his height tapping the ball over the woodwork, for a corner that was eventually wasted.

In the 12th minute, Rama Salim was embroiled in a clash that saw him limp out of the pitch.  He returned four minutes later but was to come out in the 35th minute, ushering in John Kiplangat.

The match went into the mid-match break with the teams holding a uniform ball possession.

Coming into the second half, AFC, led by Allan Wanga and Jimmy Bagaye lodged a spirited attack on the K’Ogalo defense, which was met in equal measure by counter moves by Ali Abondo and Moses Odhiambo, who had come in for Ibrahim Kitawi  and George Midenyo in the 49th and 59th minutes respectively.

In the 66th minute, the direction of the game was changed after Gor substitute Abondo was shown a red-card for driving a high-boot into Amon Muchiri.  

As Muchiri was being stretchered out of the pitch, an agitated Gor fans started throwing items onto the pitch, their anguish clearly directed at centre referee Davies Omweno. 

The match was stopped for fifteen minutes as police strove to restore calm, at some point being forced to throw tear-gas canisters at the uncountable K’ogalo fans. 

It took the intervention of Gor Mahia players to calm down their fans and allow the match to continue, albeit on an anti-climax following the departure of most fans from the venue.

The match closed with none of the two sides finding the back of the other’s net. 

MichezoAfrika wrote:-

Following ugly scenes that dominated Sunday’s derby between Gor Mahia and arch rivals AFC Leopards , Football Kenya Federation has called for an emergency meeting to address the issue urgently with a joint statement expected from the soccer chiefs in Kenya.

The meeting is expected to take place in Nairobi starting 10:00AMand will be attended by KPL officials.

At the same time Gor Mahia’s executive office has announced that they will later on Monday hold a press briefing to bring to fore chore issues in relation to the same.

The club officials say they are disturbed by the turn of events and are holding an emergency meeting to discuss the events of the day.

However, Gor Mahia’s vice chairman Faiz Ochieng has pointed an accusing finger to the match referee Davies Omweno saying the red card was the cause of the whole drama and the referee’s body should be held accountable for the mess.

“This whole issue was started by the referee’s red card. As a club we will hold an emergency meeting and will later address the media but  we call on our fans to exercise patience at this time  because Sunday incidents are not good for the face of our Kenyan soccer.” He said.

MichezoAfrika also quoted John Bobby Ogolla shockingly glossing over the fan behavious and blaming the referee. The report read:

Gor Mahia manager John Bobby Ogolla is an angry man after the match against AFC Leopards on Sunday afternoon. Ogolla not only cited the red card situation but also other countless tackles on his players which left two of them substituted with injuries.

"The referee messed up the game. He came with a fixed mind and he was very inconsistent. The referees should really pull up their socks because this is not where we should be going. Rama Salim was intentionally kicked, Kelvin Omondi was also hacked down twice heading to goal, Kitawi was also hacked and we were forced to sub him, all these went un questioned by the referee", he says.

"The fans are human beings and we cannot blame them. Though that is not the kind of action we should resort to, they were irked by the referee who was constantly frustrating us.", he adds.

Ogolla has also blamed the police for firing tear gas at the Gor fans saying that it made the atmosphere worse.

"Were the Gor fans fighting themselves? Then why did they blast tear gas only on the Gor Fans? Police should not have fired the tear gas because that only worked to worsen the situation. I am very disappointed", he says.

On the match, Ogolla says that he is content with the team as it has been building up step by step each day.

"I am encouraged by the boys. Step by step we are coming up and we are getting better. All in all  I am delighted with the point because it is better than none", he adds

Odindo Ayieko, of the Daily Nation wrote:-

Gor Mahia goalkeeper Wycliffe Kasaya and captain Moses Odhiambo averted what could have been an abandoned Kenyan Premier League derby as K’Ogalo and AFC Leopards played to a barren draw on Sunday.

The hype ahead of the Gor vs AFC game was massive, the crowd big and the excitement at its best but the game failed to live to its expectations.

Referee Davies Omweno sent off Victor Ali with 20 minutes of the game remaining and Gor fans, unamused, started hurling stones into the pitch.

Play was stopped for 15 minutes, it seemed the game won’t continue but Kasaya showed leadership advising players to collect the stones from the pitch and ask the fans to calm down. It worked.

Matchwise, there was nothing to write home about in this 71st derby as both sides played a cautious game.

There were no chances, Gor were stronger in the midfield, Leopards were more attack-oriented trying their luck from the wings.

Allan Wanga who has been on form could not go past David Owino and Musa Mohammed in defence.

It was Gor’s fourth point, after three successive defeats in the hands of Muhoroni Youth, Karuturi Sports and Tusker.

Eric Masika, a former Gor Mahia player giving his heart out at the center of the Leopards defence.

Gor coach John “Bobby” Ogolla and Leopards tactician Jan Koops were fine with the result.

“We had gone through so much problems but today the players played their hearts out. Im fine with the result. Thanks to the boys,’’ said Ogolla.

And Koops said: “It’s a derby, Gor is a big team and they gave their best. Leopards too worked their best. I’m happy.’’

Kenyanstar wrote:-

The Nairobi Derby pitting great rivals Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards has in recent days been played in good cheer, amidst pomp, colour and good natured fan banter. Flashing back to 2011 and many will recall Gor's 3-1 victory over Leopards in their first leg KPL fixture. Reactons on the day were measured, Gor fans taking pride in their result while Leopards fans, though crestfallen , were sure to bounce back come the second. Bounce back they did, beating Gor 3-0 in the return leg. The responses from the Gor side on the day was that they were beaten hands down.

When the two sides met in the 2011 FKL Cup semi final, a section of unruly fans caused trouble in the stands, and the match was eventually called off. The authorities would later award the game to Gor. Violent scenes would again visit yesterday's derby when, after a Gor player had been sent off, a section of fans walked out while others hurled projectiles onto the pitch. This may be a form of expressing disappointment but there surely exist better, more humane, more diplomatic channels of doing so.

It is quite disappointing when fan trouble disrupts the good cheer and atmosphere of matches of this caliber. Given that a team may be going through a lean spell is no justification for fans to resort to violence as was witnessed on Sunday.

All the pre-match hype, anticipations and expectations were negated by the violence which took the gloss off what had been billed to be a great afternoon of football. So, as the two teams gave a rather lacklustre display of football, one would have hoped that the activity on the stands would have added color to the tie but sadly this was not to be as the incidences of fan trouble witnessed on Sunday took the gloss off the Nairobi Derby, causing unnecessary pain and injury to many.




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