FKF suspends lower tier leagues in Covid-19 hotspots
- Nzoia Sugar were set to play Western Stima on Saturday while Vihiga United was to host Bandari on Sunday.
- In the NSL, this weekend’s matches pitting Silibwet Leons and Soy United, Kisumu All Stars and Fortune Sacco, Vihiga Bullets and Talanta, Gusii FC and Coast Stima Migori Youth and Mwatate United have also been postponed.
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has suspended Division One and subsequent lower tier leagues in Covid-19 hotspot zones for 30 days.
These is in line with the Ministry of Health directive yesterday occasioned by the Covid-19 situation in the country, suspending sports activities in 13 Western and Nyanza counties.
In a letter sent to newsrooms on Friday afternoon, the federation stated the Kenyan Premier League and the National Super League (NSL) matches that were set to take place in the affected regions have been suspended, pending consultations between FKF and the government to find alternative venues in the neighbouring counties.
FKF vice president Doris Petra had earlier termed the situation as a “tight” one for all stakeholders.
“It’s a very tight situation for all the stakeholders, we have written to the Sports Ministry to find the way forward and we are waiting for direction to be given. We are hoping for the best because the players have been training in anticipation for games to be played while some teams have also incurred travel costs.
“We are sure we will reach an amicable agreement with the Ministry,” said Petra.
Nzoia Sugar were set to play Western Stima on Saturday while Vihiga United was to host Bandari on Sunday.
In the NSL, this weekend’s matches pitting Silibwet Leons and Soy United, Kisumu All Stars and Fortune Sacco, Vihiga Bullets and Talanta, Gusii FC and Coast Stima Migori Youth and Mwatate United have also been postponed.
At the same time, NSL sides Shabana and Gusii clubs have welcomed FKF’s move to relocate home matches in the region to neighboring counties saying it will help conclude the season.
Shabana team manager Elijah Sani whose side is en route to Ligi Ndogo grounds ahead of their Sunday afternoon clash against fifth-placed Kibera Black Stars says quick solutions must be made to save the league amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We understand the reasons behind the government’s interventions more so in the Lake Region and western parts. We appreciate the efforts because they are meant to ensure that all of us are safe,” he said.
Shabana’s blistering since the league restart has seen them sit an impressive third on the log after garnering 13 points from a possible 15.
Gusii United coach Kassim Junior Otieno says relocating their home matches to Narok or Nairobi will augur well with their ambitions, with the team recording impressive results away from home.
“If you look at our results for the last six games, we have collected maximum points away from home. The government’s decision is justified because it is for the good of everyone.
“However, we would prefer to play out the rest of the season than having it concluded prematurely will spark complaints from teams that feel they could achieve more if it were to be played in full.”
The obvious challenge for the federation will be alternative venues as congested league fixtures following the March-April Covid-19 break slowed down both leagues significantly.
Additional reporting by John Kyanda
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