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Sunday, July 23, 2017

KPL clears Toyoyo

Sofapaka’s Paul Odhiambo challenges Zoo Kericho’s IssacKipyegon in a
recent match. /COURTESY
Sofapaka’s Paul Odhiambo challenges Zoo Kericho’s IssacKipyegon in a recent match. /COURTESY

Sofapaka have been cleared by the Kenyan Premier league to utilise the Jericho’s Camp Toyoyo Stadium as one of their alternative home venues.

KPL ceo Jack Oguda revealed that Sofapaka had made a request to that effect and which was granted after all the requirements on safety and security including attendant risk were deemed satisfactory.

“Sofapaka have the blessings of KPL to host some of their home matched at Toyoyo starting with their meeting with Kakamega Homeboyz this weekend,” Oguda confirmed yesterday.

Earlier, there was push and pull between the two teams with Homeboyz indicating that they had not received any official communication from the Kenyan Premier League (KPL). Homeboyz chairman Cleophas Shimanyula observed that as far as he was concerned, Afraha, Machakos, Mumias and Kisumu Stadium were the alternative stadia due to lack of venues in Nairobi.

“Jericho (Toyoyo) was not mentioned as an alternative venue before the league began and since we were not informed, we will consult KPL before making an official stance,” said Shimanyula.

Sofapaka Technical Director Martin Ndagano said they were aware of the decision by KPL and that the team has no qualms playing at the venue whose astro-turf he described as one of the best in the country today.

Said Ndagano: “The astro-turf in Jericho is better than that of City Stadium by far and it will be ideal for the kind of play the coach (Sam Ssimbwa) has introduced to players unlike the bumpy pitches mostly used for league matches.”

The decision by KPL to have Camp Toyoyo host the top tier league for the first team was necessitated by the closure of three prime venues in Nairobi including Kasarani, City Stadium and Nyayo chich are undergoing repairs. Kasarani and Nyayo have temporarily closed its doors in readiness for the World U18 Athletics Championships in July as well as the 2018 Africa Nations Championships (CHAN) which Kenya are expected to host.

Even though hosting the league matches at Jericho is deemed a welcome change to treacherous conditions that have become of most

stadia in the country due to years of neglect, the main challenge hinges on security. For a long time, Jericho has had the infamy of being a crime-infested neighborhood and with Camp Toyoyo having no perimeter fence and lacking other security amenities, most people can only imagine what would be the aftermath should chaos rock a match. However, FKF communications and public relation manager Barry Otieno allayed fears of a possible waywardness by fans. Otieno reasons that if the venue has successfully hosted National Super League matches, it can be used for SportPesa Premier League matches as well and especially in the face of scarcity of enough playing grounds in Nairobi.

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