AFC Leopards Secretary General Oscar Igaida has said the hostility they were treated to at the Awendo Green Stadium has ‘no place in modern football’ after they were allegedly held hostage for one hour by Sony Sugar fans.
Leopards players were reportedly forcefully held by the home fans after they protested the unavailability of an ambulance and adequate security at the stadium as is required by the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) Limited.
According to Igaida, it took the intervention of Sony players before their Leopards counterparts were allowed to leave the venue long after it was decided the match would not be replayed.
The clash was had been rained off on Sunday in the 68th minute with Leopards leading 1-0 after midfielder Whyvonee Isuza scored in the fourth minute.
“We told them we can’t play without security in a high risk match like this and there was no ambulance in sight when we arrived. We were told to play because there is a hospital close to the stadium but we can’t be bending rules and putting the safety of our players at risk.
“What happened here today has place in modern football and I must say I strongly condemn this. Had it not been the intervention of Sony players we can’t tell for sure what could have happened,” Igaida told Citizen Digital, adding they would lodge a formal complaint to the KPL.
In a statement, Sony heaped much of the blame on Leopards accusing them of initiating the confrontation by failing to control their fans who tried to force their way into the stadium through a restricted entrance.
“The stewards guarding the entrance realised that the approaching AFC Leopards team were fans who were in front of the players and insisted on entering the pitch…they were told to head to their preserved area. On this process, AFC Leopards held their stand as they were behind these fans.
“About the security issue, it’s not true that they were only five in number as alleged. There were five administration Police and five Kenya Police. All these were under one senior police inspector each who were in civilian. In total, we had twelve police officers, 10 in uniform and two in civilian,” an excerpt from a letter addressed to the KPL CEO by Sony Secretary General Boniface said.
Sony also refuted claims by Leopards that a personal handbag belonging to head coach Casa Mbungo had been stolen by a Sony fan with Odhiambo alleging he had overheard the Rwandan tactician ask his colleagues whether he had given it to them.
“I hereby state that AFC Coach should recollect himself and think properly who he gave his bag.”