Police cancel Gor, AFC Leopards matches in Nairobi
Police on Wednesday ordered the cancellation of two SportPesa Premier League matches involving Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards on security grounds.
Gor were set to lock horns with Western Stima at the Nyayo National Stadium on Thursday from 4.15 p.m, while Leopards were to face-off with Sofapaka at the Nairobi City Stadium from 4 p.m.
Police have asked that the matches be rescheduled as they could not provide security owing to their stretched numbers occasioned by the ongoing Nairobi International Trade Fair.
The Kenyan Premier League head of technical, safety and security GMT Ottieno said that he had received two letters, one from the Makongeni Police OCS Nelson Masai and another from Nairobi County Commander to that effect.
“Please be informed that the command is not in a position to provide adequate security coverage for the match (Gor versus Stima) due to exigencies of duty following the ongoing Nairobi International Trade Fair which commenced on September 26 to end on October 4.
“You are therefore advised to reschedule the match to a later date or seek alternative venue,” the letter dated September 30 and signed by Stanley Atavachi for Nairobi County Police commander and copied to the federation, Gor and the KPL secretariat read.
Makongeni OCS Nelson Maaai cited similar reasons: “Due to directives, I’m instructed to notify you that, the station do not have enough personnel to cover the league match (Leopards versus Sofapaka) as scheduled due to the fact that most of our personnel are involved in the ongoing Nairobi International Trade Fair.”
GOR CRY FOUL
However, in a quick rejoinder, Gor cried foul at the last minute cancellation.
“I had already talked to OCS Nyayo and we are shocked at the decision .This has to be the joke of the highest order. We had printed the tickets which we ought to hand over to Wells Fargo,” Gor’s treasurer Kennedy Otieno lamented.
He went on: “How many police officers do we have in the Nairobi and does it mean you cancel a match at the last minute?” he posed.
Besides the security grounds, Nairobi News has reliably learnt that the cancellation was also informed by the volatility of Gor and Leopards fans.
Organisers of the trade fair feared that if trouble erupt in either of the matches, it would paint a negative image at a time when international guests are in the country.
Gor and Leopards fans have a history of hooliganism which has become too hard to uproot.