Banning fans in Kenya is an exercise in futility

Monday April 16 2018

Gor Mahia fans cheer their team during their Confederation of African Football (Caf) Champions League first round, first leg match against Tunisia's Esperance sportive de Tunis (ES Tunis) in Machakos on March 7, 2018. PHOTO | TONY KARUMBA |

Gor Mahia fans cheer their team during their Confederation of African Football (Caf) Champions League first round, first leg match against Tunisia's Esperance sportive de Tunis (ES Tunis) in Machakos on March 7, 2018. PHOTO | TONY KARUMBA |  AFP

By MOSES OJUANG'
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Whenever hooliganism is witnessed in Kenyan football, the press has its tired phrase about the vice “rearing its ugly head”.

We do not know whether it is the head of medusa or of some primordial dinosaur, but we must admit that we are tired of that description.

One die hard football fan- long dead - would come from a match slapping his thighs in frustration that he could not get to beat somebody!

He loved football with all his heart and never missed a match, but a little brawl here and some slap there was the spice which went well with football for him.

He was one of those people that painted a bad picture of Kenyan football.

He was never banned for the simple reason that he could not be identified easily.

Indeed it is the clubs that usually bear the brunt of hooliganism since they get their points docked and sometimes are fined heavily by the federation.

The clubs are expected to know all their fans; A feat that shall never be achieved in this country for a long time to come.

Fans of a rival club or those sponsored by politicians for their own reasons have been known to wear the team jerseys of a club and go ahead and cause mayhem on behalf of the rival hoping that when they lose the points, their club will get into a better position.

A few weeks ago, a strange incident occurred after the Gor Mahia and SuperSport match in Machakos. It was claimed that a number of fans were attacked by people believed to be members of Gor Mahia fan club of Mathare 4A branch.

We do not know whether they attacked fellow Gor Mahia fans or just anybody. The reason for their attack is still a mystery to us but perhaps the club officials knew better but wouldn’t divulge the information.

This incident prompted the club to react in the spirit of stopping hooliganism as required by the football bodies in the country. The reaction was rather amusing and hilarious. It showed just how impotent the clubs in this country are when it comes to controlling their fans.

The club, through the secretary general Bernard Omondi, announced that members of Mathare 4A branch have been banned from attending K’Ogalo Matches.

He did not give a time frame, saying how long they will not attend the matches. He didn’t have to since he knows quite well that he has no capacity to do so.

He went on to disturb the air with his announcement: “My attention is hereby drawn to recent rise in spate of hooliganism being orchestrated by a section of misguided elements within the club fanbase, specifically Mathare 4A Branch.

Mathare 4 A Branch is banned from attending all Gor Mahia matches forthwith. Any fan (s) donning Mathare 4A regalia or travelling in vehicles branded with the said branch name, banners etc will be reported to the authorities as an illegal criminal outfit, “

That is all he can do. Now let’s wait for the result knowing quite well that it will not work.