August 18th 2017

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Kass Cup tournament ends in disarray, leaving Governor Ruto dejected

Incensed by the Kamungei fans’ behavior, the referee called off the match, awarding the game to Silibwet. By then tension was reigning in the stadium.

By Free Press Correspondentnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.comWednesday, 03 Aug 2016 10:45 EAT

Governor Ruto at the event.

The final game of annual Kass Chairman’s Cup, a football tournament that has become popular in the South Rift region, ended in disarray on Saturday after rival fans repeatedly clashed on the referee’s decisions.

The match at the Bomet Green Stadium kicked off with great expectation from the fans, but politics intervened when rival fans disagreed over the role Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto played in its organization, with the governor’s critics saying he was using the tournament to popularize his Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM).

Thousands of residents and football fans had attended the match, which was jointly organized by the Bomet county government.

The governor had apparently planned to address the residents after the match, but differences between the competing clubs, Silibwet FC and Kamung’ei FC, forced the referee to call off the match prematurely.

The crisis was sparked when Kamung’ei FC’s fans stormed the pitch to protest the referee’s decision to red-card a player from their side.

The referee then stopped the match briefly to allow for reconciliation between the two sides. However, almost as soon as the game resumed, chaos erupted once again as Kamung’ei fans disputed another decision by the referee.

Incensed by the Kamungei fans’ behavior, the referee called off the match, awarding the game to Silibwet. By then tension was reigning in the stadium.

None of the leaders who had accompanied the governor (among them local CCM leaders) addressed the gathering, but the governor himself gave a short speech in which he regretted the premature ending of the game.

The governor promised to organise another competition so as to reach out to the youth.

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