Gor boss Ze Maria calls for a quick end to the KPL crisis
Gor Mahia head coach Jose Marcelo ‘Ze Maria’ Ferreira is among coaches in the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) calling for a quick settlement of the standoff between the league management company and the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) that has seen the competition suspended indefinitely.
Ze Maria, expressed concerns that the uncertainty hanging over the kick-off is holding them back from launching a bid to reclaim the crown they lost to Tusker FC last season after winning the KPL trophy for three years in a row.
“We were prepared to start and we now feel disorganized. When finishing the pre-season training, you mentally and physically condition your players for a strong start but their minds have now drifting elsewhere.
“We didn’t expect the two bodies to spend a lot of time in settling whatever is stopping the league. I hope they will agree as soon as possible so that we get started. We are already late and the delays will spill over into our fixtures through the season,” the former Brazilian international stated.
The Gor boss said the 18 versus 16 teams debate that is the centre of the KPL/FKF standoff can only be put to rest if the parties consider the quality the Kenyan game can offer with the current resources and structures.
“I played in Italy where the top-flight is 20 clubs, so 18 teams in a league is not a big deal. What matters is the organization of the same. For example do we have enough funding for our teams? Can we fly our teams from Mombasa to Nairobi or to Kisumu?
“In European countries, when it is very hot, teams schedule their matches at night but here we don’t have capacity in of most our stadia to play at night. Basically with improved general environment of the local sport going to as many teams as 20 won’t be an issue,” the former Selacao defender offered.
Dennis Kitambi, the assistant coach to Gor arch-rivals AFC Leopards said they were worried about the potential fixture pile-up after the KPL kick-off scheduled for last weekend was called off indefinitely.
“Definitely there is some negative impact because timing is a key factor when planning. We all knew this weekend we start our campaign for the season but this is beyond us.
“We are trying as much as possible to keep the players focused so that once the league starts, they are at their best. We continue with friendly matches for the time being but we hope there will be no much delay,” Kitambi who was hired to assist Englishman Stewart Hall at the Den added.
“I’m just concerned with the congestion of fixtures that may arise from the delay. We will however, try our best to cope with situation, especially the recovery process between one match to another,” the Tanzanian tactician who is preparing for his first stint in the KPL observed.
On his part, new Chemelil Sugar head coach Abdalla Juma says the stand-off is causing confusion and mental fatigue among his players.
“We were ready for Sony Sugar on Saturday but now we have to keep waiting. If they the standoff persists, my players will be greatly affected because the longer the pre-season the more fatigue creeps in.
“We were initially scheduled to play Kariobangi Sharks, then it was Sony and the wait continues. It also affects them psychologically,” underscored Juma.
Juma took over at the sugar belt-based KPL side after Francis Baraza who led them to their highest ever finish of fifth last season decamped to champions Tusker where he is the assistant to Ugandan George ‘Best’ Nsibe.
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