Clubs decry poor match officiating

Wednesday, April 27th, 2022 00:05 | By
Sofapaka FC attacker Jospeh Waithera receives a yellow card from centre referee during their FKF-PL match against Kakamega Homeboyz at Kasarani Stadium. PD/ RODGERS NDEGWA

With the 2021/22 Football Kenya Federation’s (FKF) premier and national super league seasons almost coming to an end, the two competitions have been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons over claims of poor officiating.

A story abounds when players of a club which fell victim openly cried in the dressing room to force centre-referee to go and apologise to them over the howler he made and which contributed to their loss. 

Apology for what? Obviously, in the naked eye, this could have meant that the whistler who was at the centre of many controversial decisions in the ill-fated match may have been compromised to have the match predetermined. Period! 

In 2019, a top-tier league match between Gor Mahia and KCB at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos, which the latter won 1-0, turned chaotic amidst claims of open bias by the referee against K’ogalo. 

During the ensuing melee, a section of Gor fans went on the rampage, throwing objects on the pitch where they also damaged the Machakos County ambulance and a KCB bus. 

the FKF disciplinary committee then acted promptly and imposed a Sh606,000 fine on Gor. 

Out of the amount, Sh300,000 was payable to the premier league management, Sh200,000 to KCB for damages caused to its bus and Sh106,000 went to Machakos County. 

Protested decisions

About a month ago, the match between Gor and Sofapaka was stopped for nearly 10 minutes following crowd trouble as fans protested decisions made by the referee. 

It is now emerging that many clubs have been at the receiving end especially after Fifa-accredited referees were barred from handling the top league due to the suspension it handed to Kenya. 

Owners of several clubs claim that the compromise of referees will continue permeating the sport unless the FKF Caretaker Committee takes remedial measures. 

“This is a top tier league and needs top referees. As it is, the committee is using incompetent referees who are only too eager to make a quick buck to harm the teams who do not have anything in their coffers to bribe them,” moaned an official who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter. 

He added: “Although difficult to implement, the committee should desist from using ‘hungry’ referees. They are a big letdown, especially to the fans who spend a lot of their resources and time to come and watch matches.” 

Meanwhile, Tusker FC head coach Robert Matano has urged the committee to provide solutions to the poor officiating of both leagues’ matches. 

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