NAIROBI, Kenya- Gor Mahia FC and arch rivals AFC Leopards SC closed ranks to condole the families, relatives and friends of the K’Ogalo fans who perished on Sunday as the local football fraternity continues to reel in shock.
Gor and Leopards will play each other on Labour Day (May 1) in a one-off Mashemeji Derby in Nakuru where the winner will take on English club Hull City FC on May 13 to crown their latter’s maiden tour to Kenya but the most decorated clubs in Kenya were united in grief.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Gor chairman, Ambrose Rachier and his Leopards counterpart, Dan Mule were joined by Football Kenya Federation boss, Nick Mwendwa, in paying tribute to the fans.
“I want to send condolences to the family of the fans who lost their lives on the way to Machakos to watch Gor Mahia play on Sunday. I urge fans to take care of themselves to avoid such accidents in the future and the families should not feel alone during this trying time,” Rachier mourned.
“Firstly I would like to give my heartfelt condolences to the families affected by the accident on Sunday. Life is more important than anything else and it is only right to begin with a show of respect. As a federation, will see how to help the families who have lost loved ones,” Mwendwa added.
The officials further welcomed the return of leading bookmakers, SportPesa to the game after the firm suspended their local partnerships in January.
“A massive thank you to SportPesa for coming back and still having the appetite to be in the game. We know they will do what they were doing and even more to better football in the country.
“This is definitely the beginning of good things to come. We want to thank the Ministry for the support and we look forward to working together,” Mwendwa hailed.
Besides partnering with Gor, Leopards, FKF and SportPesa Premier League, the bookmakers also acquired the domestic cup competition that will be known as SportPesa Shield.
“I want to thank the Kenyan government for all they’ve done for us during these tough times, coming through for us when we had to play in Equatorial Guinea and Tunis.
“The biggest thanks goes out to SportPesa for coming back despite the issue of taxation to rescue football in our great nation,” Rachier added.
“It’s been hard for us and the KPL who have been relying on this title sponsorship. We appreciate the support and are elated for what’s ahead for football in Kenya,” Rachier underscored.
The other announcement made was a massive one by the biggest gaming firm in the country, as they confirmed English side Hull City FC will be making their maiden visit to Kenya and will play either Gor or AFC Leopards at Kasarani on May 13.