alexa Mt Kenya United players boycott league match - Daily Nation

Mt Kenya United players boycott league match

Thursday April 25 2019

A section of Mount Kenya United players at the City Stadium, Nairobi after they boycotted their league match against Gor Mahia set for Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos over a pay dispute. PHOTO | COURTESY |

A section of Mount Kenya United players at the City Stadium, Nairobi after they boycotted their league match against Gor Mahia set for Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos over a pay dispute. PHOTO | COURTESY |  

DAVID KWALIMWA
By DAVID KWALIMWA
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VINCENT OPIYO
By VINCENT OPIYO
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Mount Kenya United players have refused to honour Thursday afternoon's league assignment against Gor Mahia in the climax of a pay dispute with the management.

These two teams were scheduled to face off at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos from 3pm in a round of 24 SportPesa Premier League clash, but the basement side's contingent instead walked to City Stadium in Nairobi and staged a sit-in.

Coach Melis Medo confirmed this stance.

"I have tried to convince the players to honour this match but they have refused. They are way within their rights not to play so there is nothing I can do," explained the coach.

"I have also not been paid for a while. I could be kicked out of my house tomorrow (today) over rent arrears and my electricity people say they will disconnect supply this (last) evening over the same issue."

He added: "I think football in Kenya is all about politics and no tangible action. There is no problem in having five logos on the jerseys for example but are the concerned people doing enough to bring in more sponsors?"

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One Mt Kenya player Nation Sport spoke to off the record at 2:50pm - about 10 minutes to the match's intended kick off time - explained the playing squad had not been paid for the past seven months. He also requested this writer to buy him 'lunch'.

"I have been locked out of the house and haven't eaten since yesterday. I am not in the right frame of mind to play the game and might even collapse on the pitch," he said.

Currently, bottom of the 18-team league standings with 15-points from 24 matches and staring at relegation to the second tier National Super League, Mount Kenya United, formerly referred to as Nakumatt, is owned by a clique of Central Kenya aligned politicians.

This walkover implies Gor Mahia will be awarded three points and three goals by the league organisers.

Gor Mahia team manager Jolawi Obondo termed the walkover a blessing in disguise.

"We agreed in pre-match to report at 2pm for check up, 2.50pm to line-up in the dugout for 3pm kick-off and we did exactly that," match commissioner Gilbert Ndolo told Nation Sport at the venue.

"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," he added.

The match officials, centre referee Nyabere Libese, first assistant Elizabeth Njoroge, second assistant Boniface Gikonyo and reserve referee Elizabeth Muturi rehearsed for kick-off on the left side of the post as Gor players, who had dressed up in all green for the match 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, Gor coach Hassan Oktay, his assistant Zedekiah Otieno and team manager Jolawi before they retreated to the referees changing rooms.

"We will have enough time to recover for the match against Tusker on Saturday, we would've wished to play them but circumstances didn't dictate, it's very sad state of affairs but those ars the challenges we face locally," said Jolawi.

The three free points for Gor will help them open a four-point lead at the helm of the standings on 52 points after 23 rounds.

Sofapaka are second on 48 points from 25 games.

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