Mathare fall to Zesco in CAF league

Published on 31/01/2009

By Robin Toskin and Gilbert Wandera

Two second-half goals from Clifford Chipola handed Zambia’s Zesco a 2-0 win over Kenyan Premier League champions, Mathare United, in a CAF Champions League first round first leg tie in Ndola.

Mathare United took to the pitch in mourning mood with fading hopes of ever tracing one of their founding players, Peter Serry, who is feared to have perished in the inferno that gutted down Nakumatt Downtown Supermarket in Nairobi.

The “Valley Boys” wore a black armband to mourn Serry and the match kicked off after a minute’s silence in honour of the former Harambee Stars manager. However, it took Zesco 65 minutes to break them down.

After a fast paced first half, Zesco came back strongly and Chipola gave the two time Zambia champions the lead.

Zesco switched play and made the most of flanks to send Francis Kimanzi’s lads on the back foot.

Mathare United’s defence caved in later on as Chipola prised it open to ensure Zesco carry a healthy goal cushion going into the second leg in two weeks time in Nairobi.

The team was led by head of delegation Gabriel Otiende

Elsewhere, even before the Premier League kicks-off, there is already division among referees.

Yesterday, Fifa accredited referees and their assistants boycotted attending a seminar organised by Kenya Premier League (KPL) to prepare them for the season kick-off next weekend.

The two-day seminar that also included a Cooper test was held at the Moi International Sports Centre (MISC), Kasarani and coordinated by GMT Ottieno.

Ottieno said apart from four referees who are out of the country on international assignments, he does not know why the rest did not attend the test.

“Their fate now lies with the Senior Management Committee (SMC) which will decide whether they will officiate the Premier League or not,” said the official.

International duty

Those who failed to attend are, John Ngururi, Samuel Langat, Peter Kierieni, Caleb Amwayi, Margrate Omondi, Dorcas Moraa, Thomas Onyango, Damaris Kimani and Sylvester Kirwa.

The four officials out of the country on international duty are Alfred Ndinya, Samuel Sagero, Elias Kuloba and Aden Marwa.

Ottieno accused Football Kenya Limited (FKL) officials of having asked the mentioned referees not to attend.

“The Fifa accredited referees were afraid of losing their badges after they were threatened by some officials from FKL. However, we still proceeded well without them,” he said. A total of 70 referees and match commissioners are attending the two-day seminar.

Contacted, Aziz Mohammed who is a board member of FKL and is incharge of referees admitted that he asked the whistlers not to attend the seminar.

“It is not the job of KPL to hold such a seminar because we are in charge of referees’ appointment,” said Mohammed.

He claimed to have asked KPL to shelve the exercise and said they do not recognise its results.

“During the Mombasa declaration KPL were told by none other than Fifa to keep off the issue of referees but they still insist. They should understand that they are just our agents running the league on behalf of FKL,”.

He added: “some officials in KPL want to use the referees to manipulate results on the pitch but we wont accept this.”

Ten referees who attended the seminar were declared unfit to officiate in the league after failing to complete yesterday’s intensive physical exercise.

They are, Jaluo Murunga, Henry Opondo, Steven Oba, James Maina, Frank Musungu, Francis Obayo, Washingtone Onyoni, Richard Obare and Dominic Weda.

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