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Investigations on after Zoo Kericho fan threatens to shoot player

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) is waiting for an official report from Zoo Kericho over what exactly transpired which culminated in a gun drama during their SportPesa Premier League (SPL) match against Bandari at Kericho Green Stadium last Sunday before taking action.

In the meantime, local league organisers Kenyan Premier League (KPL) said they have launched investigations and that they will also petition the Inspector General of Kenya Police to look into the matter and ensure that it does not recur in future.

These comes in the wake of key concerns regarding the safety in local stadia, going by previous attacks on and off the pitch. “As we proceed with our review of the circumstances which led to occurrence of this regrettably sad incident, we assure stakeholders and the public in general that we are steadfast in ensuring that matches played in different venues across the country are secure for match officials, fans and teams,” read part of KPL statement.

Yesterday, FKF president Nick Mwendwa said the governing body has expressed concern with the hooliganism that has reared its head once again in the top-tier league, saying appropriate disciplinary measures shall be taken to curb the vice.

“FKF takes with great exception the ugly incident which rocked the match when an alleged fan confronted Bandari players with a fire arm. As the home team, Zoo are duty bound to furnish us with the information of what happened after which the federation will make its own investigation to bring the culprits to book,” said Mwendwa.

The proclamation by Mwendwa comes in the wake of an incident in which a man who is believed to be a Zoo fan went berserk and brandished a gun at Bandari players shortly after the match which ended 1-1.

Bandari captain Felly Mulumbu pleads with the armed fan not to shoot him. Photo/STAFFORD ONDEGO (SPORT/PICHA)

The wayward fan who was only identified as Wykie or Wycliff is said to have been a former player of Zoo where he started his career before signing for Administration Police FC and later joining the service.

Other reports indicated that he is an Administration Police Officer in Kericho and who is a body guard to an area Member of Parliament.

Trouble began soon after the end of the match when the officer was entangled in a confrontation between Bandari strike Wycliff Ochomo and a Zoo defender.

As Wycliff tried to separate the two players, Bandari defender Felly Mulumba is said to have knocked the officer to the ground as the matters threatened to get out of hand,

The officer then headed to Bandari’s technical area brandishing his pistol and pointing at the players who were exchanging pleasantries with their technical bench officials before he was restrained by a section of disbelieving fans.

Zoo chairman Ken Ochieng was later quoted in a section of the press, saying that he personally knew the fan but pointed out that no one is allowed to be armed inside a stadium except uniformed security personnel. 

Ochieng explained that police officers deployed in plainclothes are not supposed to enter the pitch. “It is true that during matches there are plainclothes police deployed around the stadium as a security measure but they are only restricted to the stands,” said Ochieng, adding that he had personally reported the matter to the area OCS.

“The OCS and other senior police officers in the area saw everything that happened and they have told me they will deal with the issue.

Those who know him well say he is fond of showing off his firearm often unprovoked, some fans suggesting he had run into trouble in the past during matches “but he seemingly never seems to learn.”

The latest incident brings into fore the escalating cases of hooliganism  in local league matches even as it becomes cleared that no one is safe from players, fans and match officials. All this time, FKF and Kenyan Premier League has faced criticism over the lawlessness in which SPL has sunk despite both entities promising to eradicate all sorts of violence to guarantee the smooth running of the league.

The incident comes hot on the heels of another four years ago in which a suspected AFC Leopards fan beat up a policeman during a match against Mumias Sugar at Nyayo Stadium and was subsequently banned by FKF, them led by Sam Nyamweya, from all stadia in the country.

Another incident was witnessed in Mumias Complex when a fan stormed the pitch and whipped the referee during a match between Leopards and Thika United.

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