Kenya: Betrayal in the City?
AFC Leopards coach Jaan Koops has accused his Gor Mahia counterpart of betrayal regarding the aborted Top-8 quarter-final match on Sunday.
Koops claimed he had a verbal agreement with Zdravko Logarusic three weeks ago to have the match played at the end of the season and to inform their club officials to petition the league body to postpone the tie.
“We had a meeting at Nyayo Stadium with Logarusic and the agreement was that we should play the match at the end of the season because we are all focused on the league,
“He agreed with me that playing now would not be conducive for both clubs and we resolved to talk to our respective officials who would then petition KPL to postpone the match,
“I was surprised when Logarusic sent his team to the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani and now it looks like it is AFC Leopards who had a problem. It is unfair for Gor to have done that,” he said.
Koops said they were not afraid of facing Gor and would do so with the right conditions. He insisted that at the moment, their focus is on the league.
Contacted, Logarusic accepted having had a verbal agreement with Koops to have the match postponed but he insisted such an arrangement was not binding on the KPL.
“We waited for Leopards’ officials to come back to us with a firm decision on the proposed postponement but it never happened. We would never make a decision that is binding on the KPL because we are not in charge of the fixtures,” he said.
Logarusic agreed that the Top-8 tournament is a distraction at this time but they have no choice but to take part in it since the KPL had decided so.
“We would have loved to play the match at the end of the season so that we can use this time to concentrate on the league. However, it is beyond us. If KPL says we play then we have no choice,” he said.
Leopards got a reprieve on Monday when Football Kenya Federation (FKF) said it does recognise the walk-over awarded to Gor Mahia on Sunday.
In a move that is likely to cause friction between FKF and KPL, the federation demanded that they be furnished with rules of the tournament and took issue with the league company for not postponing the match as had been suggested to them on Friday.
FKF chairman Sam Nyamweya said they are in charge of running local football and they will not allow unfairness to prevail.
“We will not allow our clubs to be fined unfairly yet they are struggling to even honour matches,” said Nyamweya in a statement.
Leopards have already been fined Sh500,000 and may face further sanctions from the league body.
The KPL Top-8 tournament, which was started last year, brings together the top teams in the league and a prize money of Sh1 million for the winner. Ulinzi Stars are the current defending champions of the competition.
By Gilbert Wandera, The Standard
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