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Hooliganism still a threat to Kenyan Football

By Atanas Walila, Kakamega

The Kenya Premier League match between Kakamega Homeboyz and AFC Leopards was abandoned after angry fans engaged in stone throwing in Bukhungu Stadium on Sunday.

Scenes began chaotic late in the first half when Leopards’ fans, Coach and players disagreeed with several decisions from the center referee.

Ingwe fans stormed the pitch when the referee failed to penalise the Homeboyz goalkeeper Farouk Shikhalo for allegedly handleling the ball outside his box.

Efforts by the security officers and matchday stewards to contain the angry fans were futile as they charged towards the referees.

The ugly scenes prompted the home support to react, engaging their rival fans in running battles and stone throwing.

Police had to call for backup reinforcement and were forced to fire tea gas to disperse the fans who had now blocked down the busy Kakamega-Webuye highway.

The chairmen of both clubs defended their teams and blamed their opponents side for causing the situation.

Homeboyz Chairman Cleophas Shimanyula claimed that Leopards fans resorted to anarchy because they feared defeat.

“We were ready for Leopards and we were going to beat them, but what happened was uncalled for. I want to tell the fans that it’s not a must that the team you are supporting will win, in football you either win or lose,” Shimanyula said

On the side, the Leopards Chairman Dan Shikanda blamed the center referee for alleged bias in officiating as well as poor security by the home team.

“We traveled all the way for three points but it is unfortunate that the officials were biased and also the security was very poor regarding considering this was always going to be a tense match,” said Shikanda

Kakamega governor Fernandez Barasa who was in attendance condemned the violence exhibited by fans and cautioned the match officials on making wrong decision

Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba (centre) and Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa (right)




Kenyan Football has faced scenes like this and the Football Kenya Federation has not been able to contain situations in various playgrounds.

Bandari FC Players were once forced to jump over the Bukhungu Stadium fences after Chaos erupted while facing Kakamega Homeboyz in 2021.

The FKF Premier League match between Gor Mahia and Vihiga Bullets was called off after three fans were injured from such chaos at the Moi International Centre, Kasarani in February 13, 2022.

AFC Leopards have faced several cases over  hooliganism when the team’s fans attacked match officials. Gor Mahia have also had similar cases including one against KCB where fans threw stones and water bottles on the pitch targeting the referee.

The Federation’s president Nick Mwendwa has always come forward to condemn hooliganism in football as well as joining hands with the Independent Disciplinary and Complaints Committee (IDCC) which operates under the auspices of the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) to rule the cases in accordance with football regulations.

Another ugly scene this year was seen in the match between Sony Sugar and Gor Mahia when Sony players refused to appear on the pitch for second half causing the angry Gor Mahia fans to invaded the pitch, causing distractions as well as closing the  Awendo-Migori road.

Hooliganism has many disadvantages to the National Football and mostly local clubs which find hard time to restore their financial stability after this incidents.

Sponsors keep away from the sport because of violent behaviour and this could be the reason why attendants are always low while other fans opting to watch international leagues.

The federation must take immediate action to address this issue and ensure that such incidents do not occur in the future. It is essential to create safe spaces for sports fans to enjoy games without fear of violence or intimidation.

This can be achieved by implementing strict security measures, such as increased police presence, CCTV surveillance, and strict screening of fans before entering the stadium as it is evident that relevant authorities have not been deploying adequate security officers during the match



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