Politics, football cross roads as Tusker turn up the heat on Gor

Tusker FC players hurdle during their match against AS Port Louis 2000 in the first leg ...
(FILE)Tusker FC players hurdle during their match against AS Port Louis 2000 in the first leg of the preliminary round of the 2017 CAF champions League at Safaricom Stadium, Kasarani on February 11, 2017. The match ended 1-1. Photo/Stafford Ondego/Sportpicha

Tusker FC kicked off life at their new home turf, the Kinoru Stadium, with some taste of controversy as rowdy youth attempted to storm into the 20,000-seater facility without paying for entrance fees.

The political atmosphere that is slowly swallowing up a nation ahead of the August 8 General Elections could have fuelled the incident with Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi allegedly having told the youth there was no such need.

According to Linturi who spoke at Makutano, funds from the Meru County Government had been used for the facelifts and major upgrades before Kinoru acquired approval to host top flight matches and thus its residents should be allowed in for free.

Governor Peter Munya who spoke shortly after the match condemned the incident, saying that peace needed to prevail during sporting activities scheduled at the stadium.

The sideshows did nothing to stop Tusker from enjoying a dream start there with skipper James Situma hailing its quality as the champions won to turn up the heat on Gor Mahia FC at the summit of the Kenyan Premier League (KPL).

Jackson Macharia scored the lone goal that set them up for a 1-0 win over troubled AFC Leopards to give Head Coach George Nsimbe and their fans some home cheer as their rivals Gor battled to salvage a 1-1 draw at Posta Rangers.

For the Leopards, the result piled further misery to a side lacking confidence and deflated in spirits following a winless run that now stretches seven games. Of those, they have lost four.

Yet the instability threatens to last even longer with reports Head Coach Stewart Hall is heading for the exit door growing palpable by the day.

As the wheels start to fall off from the league frontrunners, Tusker have fastened their own to embark on an emphatic seven successive wins.

“The pitch is good and I believe this is a nice opportunity for the youth to get employment. They will also get a chance to grow their talents,” Situma told Citizen Digital when quizzed about the impact Kinoru is likely to make.

His manager Nsimbe was reserved on the reason behind their spectacular turnaround and their impressive run, terming their latest win as ‘nice’ and that his charges enjoyed a ‘fair’ game.

In other matches elsewhere, Nakumatt FC condemned Mathare United to a fifth straight defeat with a 2-1 victory.

Kepha Aswani scored the decisive goal from the spot in the 88th minute, converting from the spot after goals from teammate Nicholas Meja and a Chrispin Oduor penalty had left the tie begging for a winner.

A Pascal Ogweno own goal in the 83rd minute gifted Western Stima an unlikely 1-1 draw at home to Kariobangi Sharks. Juma Masoud had put the visitors in front with a 25th minute strike.

Zoo Kericho versus Sony Sugar ended with a similar result with first half goals from Goeffrey Gichana and Chamberi Marwa settling the tie.

-Additional reporting by Matthews Mutai

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Story By Martin Mwenda
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