Sports / Updates
Thursday, 06 Jul 2017 14:36 EATtmatalanga@kenyafreepress.com
The recent acts of hooliganism witnessed in a Kenya Premier League tie between Ulinzi stars and Gor Mahia, raises pertinent questions about the state of football in the country. Surprisingly such acts seem to have been made part and parcel of the game as no previous offenders or for that matter any of the clubs involved in several of such cases have been sanctioned or brought to book for their involvement in hooliganism.
The fact that both sets of players had to seek refuge in the middle of the pitch in Kisumu after the host fans went on rampage after the teams drew 2-2, clearly indicates that football clubs in the country have no control over their fans. Apparently the fracas started when second half substitute Stephen Waruru scored the second of his two goals in the 90th minute to help the soldiers salvage a draw which did not sink well with some of the K'Ogalo faithful and violence broke out in the stands forcing the security personnel at the venue to fire teargas canisters to disperse the rowdy fans.
All this coming at a time when the state of the game in the country seems to be in tatters since South African media company, Supersport pulled out of a TV broadcast deal with KPL citing involvement of the Football Kenyan Federation in the agreement between itself and KPL to which FKF was not party to. To compound football problems in Kenya, league sponsors and betting firm, SportPesa has also announced plans of pulling out of the league sponsorship among other partnerships it has with other sporting bodies in the country citing the recent imposition of 35 per cent from the initial 15 per cent on betting firms.
The President made the 35 per cent recommendation to the Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi after he rejected to assent to the Finance Bill 2017. The President through a memorandum stated that he had rejected the Bill because MPs dropped the 50 per cent proposal on gambling firms that was designed to discourage the youth from engaging in betting.
Certainly with all these issues affecting the state of the game in the country, hooliganism should not be one of them as far as I am concerned. Stern measures need to be taken against repeat offenders because such as was the case in Kisumu Gor fans to be frank have been involved in previous acts of hooliganism yet it seems that the FKF never punishes them to curb this nightmare that is tarnishing the the name of football.
All stakeholders need to convene a strategic way of dealing with this menace for I believe collectively that hooliganism can be dealt with, thereafter time that would have otherwise been used in dealing with hooligans will be put into other aspects of the game such as sponsorships, development of the game at both the tactical and technical levels and last but not least creating or rather setting up facilities such as Stadia and training arenas where talent can be harnessed and nurtured.
Matalanga is a student of journalism at the East Africa School of Media Studies and an intern writer at the Kenya Free Press.