•Chaos ensued Just 34 minutes into the game when Kakamega Homeboyz goalkeeper Farouk Shikalo handled the ball outside the box, but the referee waved play on rather than ordering him to take an early shower.
•AFC Leopards chairman Dan Shikanda has fiercely defended his team's fans, choosing instead to lay the entire blame at the feet of the referee.
The country is still reeling in shock after fans invaded the pitch and assaulted the centre referee during a volatile Kenyan Premier League encounter between AFC Leopards and Kakamega Homeboyz at Bukhungu Stadium on Sunday.
The beleaguered match official's questionable call reportedly incensed Leopards supporters, who claimed he was trying to tip the odds in favour of their opponents, perceived to have been enjoying the perks of playing at home.
Chaos ensued Just 34 minutes into the game when Kakamega Homeboyz goalkeeper Farouk Shikalo handled the ball outside the box, but the referee waved play on rather than ordering him to take an early shower.
A small number of law enforcement officers stationed at the location—roughly eight in number—were forced to use teargas to control the ugly scenes.
AFC Leopards chairman Dan Shikanda has fiercely defended his team's fans, choosing instead to lay the entire blame at the feet of the referee.
Shikanda asserts that the referee violated the game's rules when he contentiously dealt with the incident in which Shikhalo handled the ball outside of the penalty area.
He also criticised their hosts for not stepping up security around the facility to deter potential troublemakers.
Given this is the umpteenth incident that has been reported at the venue in a short period of two years, it is safe to say that Bukhungu Stadium is turning into a haven for hoodlums.
Evans Mafuta, the former head coach of Vihiga Bullets, was brutally attacked by incensed supporters in October 2021 after his team lost 3-0 to Kariobangi Sharks.
Later in the same year, NTV reporter Zacchaeus Mwasame was brutally attacked by a raucous mob who left him with a torn mouth that cost Sh6,000 to stitch up.
The journalist faced the wrath of his attackers when he chose to record an incident in which irate Bandari FC players confronted the referee to protest the decision to award Homeboyz a penalty.
A Kakamega Homeboyz representative, who is well-known to Mwasame, is accused of allegedly confronting him and striking him. The situation turned uglier when rowdy fans decided to take their ire out on him.
As much as fans customarily take the most flak whenever ugly scenes erupt during matches, it's time to throw down the gauntlet to referees who equally bear a huge responsibility to safeguard the image of the world's most popular sport.
Local coaches have continuously voiced concerns at one time or another over dubious calls made by referees.
For instance, a couple of years ago, the National Super League clubs threatened to boycott the remaining matches of the second-tier season due to pervasive refereeing issues.
The incident happened just a day after Gor Mahia supporters confronted the referee as he was leaving the field of play for the dressing room during the halftime break after he awarded Kakamega Homeboyz a penalty in a league game.
So serious was the situation that the referee did not return to the game in the second half and had to be replaced by the fourth official.
Whatever the circumstance, such retrogressive acts of hooliganism should no longer be condoned by any cultured society.
Law enforcers must swing into action to nab and prosecute perpetrators of violence who are likely to capitalise on such instability to push their personal and political vendetta.