FKF And SportPesa Anti-Hooliganism Laws A Populist Agenda

Tuesday marked a historic day in the world’s most followed football league; the English Premier League. More significant it was to Liverpool FC supporters and relatives of those who lost their loved ones in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. 

The disaster, that saw 96 fans die and 766 others injured, occurred as Liverpool played Nottingham in the FA Cup semis. The match was played at a neutral ground. In the longest case heard by a jury in British legal history, it was determined today that the match commander Supretendent David Duckenfeild’s actions amounted to gross misconduct, while the police were also found guilty of planning errors that caused or contributed to the dangerous situation.

Well, for those who followed football closely in those days, four years before the Hillsborough disaster another disaster had occurred with 39 fans losing their lives in a Europe Cup final match pitting Liverpool against Juventus. Hooliganism in those days, was so bad, and was referred to as the ‘English Disaster’.

Incidentally, it is onTuesday that FKF announced measures to curb hooliganism in the local scene. Sportpesa too took the opportunity to suspend the Gor Mahia/ AFC Leopards sponsorships that Kenyans biggest clubs have been enjoying since the league kicked off. This comes in the wake of incessant hooliganism incidents that have clouded that league, with just 10 matches into the season. FKF through president Nick Mwendwa announced what many have termed ‘stringent laws’ to curb the vice, with Sportpesa’s actions being termed ‘harsh’ considering the two clubs have no solid financial backing.

From a layman’s perspective, the measures are sure to bring sanity to the local league. However, is there any real hope that hooliganism will soon be a thing of the past in the local league? Kenya, just as was the case in England 27years back, is experiencing a ‘real disaster’ that needs a thorough approach, in addition to total goodwill and commitment from all stakeholders if we hope to uproot hooliganism.

FKF and Sportpesa have opted for the shorter mitigation route, and the one that appeals more to the eye, something that could only worsen Kenya’s case. In the duo’s address to the press today, AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia featured prominently.In fact, FKF has directed KPL to submit findings on the Gor and AFC cases by May 3rd. In the last two weeks, AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia have witnessed hooliganism cases in their matches, with the club’s players and stewards guilty of fueling violence.

FKF’s measures are good for the game, however they have chosen to ignore the root problems and instead gone for the branches. First things first. Hooliganism has been here for sometime. Years on. President Nick Mwendwa and his office have experienced hooliganism first hand in our local stadia. Hooliganism is not tied to Gor and AFC alone.

In 2013, Kenyanstar while speaking  to the then Kakamega Homeboyz coach Fred Serenge on hooliganism, he said,

“We are currently experiencing rampant hooliganism thanks to poor officiating.”

A week before that interview, Kakamega Homeboyz fans had severely beaten a referee at Bukhungu stadium. It is also in the same season, that referee Hadji Adede had been attacked baldy. Kenyanstar further sought to know from Serenge if Leopards and K’ogalo were solely responsible for hooliganism cases.

He noted, “Absolutely no. We witnessed hooliganism here in Kakamega. In some areas in this country, including Muhoroni, Chemelil and Awendo there are planned goons who always sit behind the technical bench. They come from sugar plantations,,some welding pangas. The situation there is dire.” 

AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia have in a number of occasions clashed badly with opposing fans in this areas, forcing KPL to direct that their matches against these sides be held in Kisumu.  Just this season, Bandari were treated to some serious hooliganism incidences in Muhoroni with Bandari asking KPL to halt hosting matches in Muhoroni. Clips from the match had some  Muhoroni players assaulting Bandari players, as fans stood dangerously on the pitch. 

FKF must first change the notion that hooliganism is a reserve for the two clubs. When Muhoroni players assaulted Bandari players, was any  action taken? FKF should direct all the local clubs to have an anti-hooliganism policy. 

Earlier this year, when two of Kenya’s senior and top players Arnold Origi and Victor Wanyama accosted the match officials as Kenya lost 1-0 to Guinea-Bissau, FKF went mum. No statement was issued to that effect in spite of the match failing to proceed thanks to violence that rocked the stadium. All FKF did, was join the local football diehards in waiting for CAF’S verdict on her issue. That in itself, raised doubts on FKF’s willingness to tackle the menace.

Officiating has gone to the dogs, with head of referees GMT Otieno admitting in a recent interview that majority of match officials are not qualified. Otieno added that most officials have been app to their positions in a reward scheme, rather than competency. In just 10 matches, referees have been committing high school bloopers something that has been pointed out as a catalyst for violence. The situation seems to persist, with neither FKF nor KPL pledging to handle the situation same.

When Sportpesa took up the responsibility of sponsoring Gor and AFC, CEO captain Ronald Karauri promised that they would closely with clubs to tame hooliganism. One issue that they pledged to handle was ensure match stewards were well qualified and had certificates of good conduct. Well, the best that these stewards have to show for it are newer reflector jackets. Their mannerisms are at an all time low. Match stewards can wall into the pitch at will, assault any journalist,  player or match officials and walk away scot free. Journalists will tell you that they dread match stewards more than they do to local cops.

Stewards wield lots of powers and that is the reason it has been difficult for either KPL or the federation to boot them out. The clubs that employ them, can’t even think about it. Why? All of these stewards are usually the club official’s clansmen. They form part of the strong voter base, and kicking them out, would be like voting yourself out. Many at times these stewards have doubled up as carriers of ‘special tools of trade.’ Often before kickoff, you will spot them making deposits in goal posts or around the technical area. Whatever they carry has been rumoured to be ‘juju.’ And it’s special stewards who undertake these roles. A good number of stewards have a say in what players to sign, what to coach to stay etc. Most of these stewards, infact, as has been the case at Ingwe some seasons back, believe they own the club. Whoever has them on their side, has the club on their side. It is claimed. It is these fellows who incite fans, beat up players, match officials and at times journalists in the full glare of cameras. This has happened in previous seasons and as late as last week. Any action? None. Who are these stewards? Fellows we know by face and names. Why not any action isn’t taken against them remains the jig-saw puzzle. Can FKF then convince us that serious action will be taken against stewards?

One of the major problems stems from the cops. This writer while speaking to a cop after  Gor Mahia fans engaged police in running battles at Nyayo, he said, “..unajua hawa watu wana ujinga. Mtu anatoka kwake anakuja amevuta bangi. Unaweza shindana na huyo mtu? Kwa nini uhatarishe maisha yako?” The cops words were true. Normally most of these cops are not trained to handle hooliganism. A season ago, at the KPL awards, Sports CS Hassan Wario noted that the Government would undertake measures to curb hooliganism as he dismissed the then FKF president Sam Nyamweya’s request to have a special unit to tackle hooliganism. It is normal to witness police officers hurdled in a corner, as fans hurl objects into the pitch. Who deploys these cops? What is their responsibility? Are they trained on crowd control? In a number of occasions, police have hurled teargas recklessly hence worsening the situation on the pitch. What does FKF plan to do to deal with otherwise lazy and clueless cops?

Sportpesa have taken a bold step in suspending the sponsorships, but if social media is to believed, majority of the fans hold strong opinions that the betting giants are arm twisting Kenya’s biggest club. Infact, some fans have dared Sportpesa to pull out completely, with a number pointing at other betting rivals as quick options. On their part, Sportpesa should invest in serious security in local matches. Or else, they are in for worse incidences. Remember the trouble that befell Kenya Power? The power company had a prestigious Charity cup tourney that they cut short, after they had invested millions only for goons to loot and cause massive chaos in that tournament. Kenya Power had invested millions in the football and entertainment but little in security. The damage was evident that day.

Hooliganism is a larger issue that FKF should be prepared to handle head on and effectively, not just through knee jerk reactions. Get players trained, qualified stewards hired and the proper stadia used. Further, IDCC should formulate,min conjunction with KPL and FKF clear laws to deal with unruly players and clubs. Otherwise, we could be playing ostrich politics; hiding our heads in the sand, and waiting for danger to pass…

The Bureau of the FIFA Council  who comprise of the FIFA President and the presidents of each of the six confederations  convened today,Thursday in Zurich and agreed on a proposed slot allocation for the FIFA World Cup™ as of the 2026 edition.

Bernard Mwalala says Nzoia Sugar will fight to stay in the league and has faith in his youthful squad.

Organisers of the Paavo Nurmi Games have announced that three global champions will join Olympic champion Thomas Rohler on the javelin runway in Turku in June.

Gor Mahia management has announced plans to go fully digital in managing their gate collections during home matches and invited bids from interested companies.

Nzoia Sugar defender Edwin Wafula is likely to miss his side's trip to Machakos to face AFC Leopards SC.

Eric Ochieng' aka Cantona is one of most iconic soccer athletes to grace Kenya Premier League in the 1990s.

Fredrick Otieno is a skating hero, a national hero, he rehabilitates street children through skating . Currently the National Coach for the Speed Skating National team, Fred says this is a position he got courtesy of his programs with the skating club he founded; The Nairobi Sprint Skating Club. A student at the Kampala University taking a degree course in Community development, Fred is our Kenyanstar of the week and he opened up to Kenyanstar on the challenges facing skating as a sport and how he uses it to rehabilitate street children..

Mathare United youngster Ahmed Abdallah  feels he is fit for the match against Sofapaka.

Tottenham Hotspur head coach Mauricio Pochettino has ruled out ever managing Barcelona, despite being spotted with Spanish club’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu last week.

Santi Cazorla will not play again for Arsenal again this season, according to Arsene Wenger,

Arsene Wenger has responded on Alexs Sanchez' unclear statements about the player's future at the Club.

Liverpool and Chelsea have reportedly been dealt a transfer blow as it seems target Mahmoud Dahoud has other plans.

Kurt Zouma might move away from Chelsea next season as he has one eye on a World Cup call up for France next year

Alexis Sanchez who has been heavily linked with Chelsea move recently has made a serious statement:

Zlatan Ibrahimovic  has hinted that he will stay at Old Trafford

Tiemoue Bakayoko, the AS Monaco midfielder, is ready to turn down Chelsea for Manchester United provided Jose Mourinho’s club qualifies for the UEFA Champions League.

Bakayoko has been one of Monaco’s key figures in midfield in a season that could end with Ligue 1 and UEFA Champions League glory in the Principality.

The 22-year-old made his France debut in the 2-0 friendly defeat to Spain on March 28 at Stade de France in Paris.

Chelsea was reported to be leading the chase to sign Bakayoko but now the Manchester Evening News has claimed United could steal in.

Mourinho has missed a true defensive midfielder this season that would allow world-record £89.2 million signing Paul Pogba attacking freedom.

But Bakayoko, whose Monaco team beat Manchester City in March to reach the Champions League quarterfinals, reportedly wants to play in the same competition next season.

Chelsea is all but assured of Champions League football next season but United faces a battle, needing to overhaul Liverpool, which it trails by four points for the final qualifying place via the Premier League. Mourinho’s side could also make it by winning the UEFA Europa League, where it faces Anderlecht in the quarterfinal.

Popular Articles

Those who love him, love him with so much passion. Those who hate him, also do so with the same gusto. If a book on ‘The most hated footballers’ were ever to be written, several chapters would be dedicated to him.

Matatu culture is part of living in Nairobi City and the transport means used by all. Soccer fans use their own cars, buses and matatus for traveling to away matches.

The day is September 26th 2010. Kenya U-20 coach Vince Ombiji brought on a young and promising player as the national junior side took on Lesotho. The rookie had an almost immediate impact, as he ran down the Lesotho defense rugged. Fleet foot works, pacy and pin point crosses made him a darling to the fans instantly. Kenya’s next big thing was alive.

The figure of Ksh. 600,000 released by Gor Mahia today, as the total gate collections for the Gor Mahia vs Zoo Kericho match in Kisumu are ‘stupid figures’,  Gor Mahia Organizing Secretary Judith Anyango has told Kenyanstar in a long ranging Interview.

Even thou they finished fourth in the just concluded Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association Basketball championships, Rueben Muraya is one person who has caught the eyes of many. His dazzling dribbling skills and speed has made him a crowd favorite and a contender for the MVP award.

Pauline Naise belongs to a different class, a rare one, with a few names ahead of her. A class of Kenyan stars who have represented the country at International level  in two(or more) different sports, and have excelled at it. The likes J.J Masiga for Rugby and Football,  Aasif Karim for Tennis and Cricket, Carl Tundo for Motorsport and Golf and Collins Omae for Rugby and Athletics. 

She started playing volleyball at the age of nine at Kawaii primary School. Meet Florence Bosire, one of the best setters in the country. Recently,she was part of the Prisons team that won the Africa Women Volleyball Championship trophy for the fourth time. She did not participate but had a hand in the win.

Controversial. Hard tackler. Solid midfielder. Indisciplined... His character is described depending on where you swear your allegiance. A no-nonsense figure on and off the pitch. He commands influence and his contribution to the club cannot be underestimated.

Everton are considering a pre-season friendly in Tanzania as part of their expected new sponsorship deal with SportPesa.

Wilfried Zaha has rejected Gareth Southgate’s suggestion that he had imposed a timescale to be selected again by England, effectively holding the national team to ransom, and has defended his right to instead represent the country of his birth, Ivory Coast.

Bale and Ronaldo both played as Real Madrid beat Athletic Bilbao 2-1 yesterday. Goals from Karim Benzema and Casemiro strengthened their grip on the La Liga title.

However, despite the victory, all is not well at the Santiago Bernabeu. Spanish outlet Diario Gol claimed yesterday that Ronaldo was fuming with Zinedine Zidane for substituting him late on.

The former Manchester United star provided the assist for Benzema's goal but was replaced by Isco in the 79th minute. It was said that Ronaldo believed Bale should have been substituted instead after an abject display.

But Diario Gol claim Bale was also angry after the game. The former Tottenham star's stock is rising in Spain after helping Madrid win the Champions League twice in the past three years. And the Wales international reportedly believes Ronaldo is preventing him from becoming the club's main man.

Bale has to play on the left wing due to Ronaldo's desire to play further up the field. He feels that Zidane is making a mistake by deploying him in that position as he prefers to play on the right, where he can cut inside.

Club chief Florentino Perez is now monitoring the situation as Madrid's two biggest stars aim to do outdo the other. 

A friendly match between Ivory Coast and Senegal was abandoned after 88 minutes after crowd trouble spilled onto the pitch with dozens of fans invading the field of play and confronting players.

The Kroenke camp are big fans of Arsenal’s all-time leading goalscorer is particularly close to the influential Josh, who was appointed to the club’s board as a non-executive director in 2013.

Algeria and West Ham midfielder Sofiane Feghouli admits it will be difficult for the Desert Foxes to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup ahead of Nigeria according to Nigerian Website

Algeria are currently bottom of African qualifying Group B on just one point, five points behind group leaders Nigeria.

Reigning African champions Cameroon are second on two points, while Zambia are third with just a point.

“I think the World Cup is the very best competition in terms of the feelings and emotions that it generates,” Feghouli told West Ham official website on Tuesday. 

“If you haven't played in it, you can't know exactly what it means. I was lucky enough to play in it in 2014 and Algeria played very well. It was a dream come true for millions of Algerians and we made history by reaching the last 16 for the first time.

“We played a historic tie against Germany in which we were on the verge of knocking them out. I was very happy and proud to take part in that incredible adventure.

“I'd like to play in it again in 2018, although it will be very difficult to qualify.”

At the 2017 AFCON in Gabon, Algeria crashed out in the first round.

The Argentine striker scored 91 goals in 146 games for the Partenopei, including 36 Serie A goals in 35 games last season. However, ‘Pipita’ then left for Juventus when the Bianconeri activated his €90m release clause, causing fury in Naples.

Joel Matip on his future with Cameroon:

KS on Facebook