Gor Mahia coach Hassan Oktay has joined the bandwagon calling for respect of players’ welfare after their opponents Mount Kenya United failed to turn up for their SportPesa Premier League match on Thursday at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos.
Despite their team manager attending pre-match in the morning at the stadium, Mount Kenya players failed to report for check-up an hour before the 3pm kick-off.
Both teams were to line-up in the dugout 10 minutes before kick off, according to match commissioner Gilbert Ndolo.
However, Mount Kenya, who were the hosts, were a no-show 30 minutes into the stipulated kick off time with their players staging a sit in at the City stadium, Nairobi over unpaid salaries, hence failing to board the one-hour bus trip to Machakos.
The match officials; centre referee Nyabere Libese, his assistants Elizabeth Njoroge and Boniface Gikonyo, reserve referee Elizabeth Muturi rehearsed for kick-off on the left side of the post as Gor players – donning all green, juggled the ball on the other half.
After 30 minutes, the match commissioner Ndolo walked to the pitch and had a chat with the referees alongside Gor coach Hassan Oktay, his assistant Zedekiah Otieno and team manager Jolawi Obondo before they retreated to the referees' changing rooms.
“We are going to write a report since we cannot decide the fate of the match now for we don't know what they communicated with the league body in the meantime," added Ndolo.
A handful of Gor fans led by Jaro Soja left the stadium disappointed for missing a rare opportunity to watch their team play.
“We wanted to hammer them but they hid themselves in a place in Nairobi, when ready, let them come for a beating,” echoed Jaro Soja.
Gor coach Oktay, who prior to the clash had four wins and two draws in six meetings against Mount Kenya, was remorseful for the hunger-struck players.
“It’s not great for the Kenyan Premier League, I rather play to get three points than be gifted,
“At the end of the day, these players have families that need bread on the table. Their chairman and committee members need to bring money and pay the players it’s not good thing at all,” the 46-year-old emphasised.
Gor will outrightly be awarded three easy points on a 2-0 basis to take their points tally to 52, four ahead of closest-challengers Sofapaka with two games in hand.
“I believe Sofapaka will drop points more than us, I know their staff are motivating them thinking we shall drop points but sorry, we are motivated mentally and physically to retain the title,” offered Oktay, who has shifted focus to their Saturday clash against Tusker in Machakos.