Mayhem as Leopards fall again to Western Stima
Angry AFC Leopards fans invaded the pitch in protest after Western Stima completed the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) double over the struggling giants on Saturday at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium.
The incensed Ingwe supporters attempted to rough up their players seeking an explanation to the slump in form that has seen the glamour club win one one of their last six games after yet another sterile display as stewards battled to hold them back.
Amid the chaotic scenes, Stima players were led out of the volatile situation after Wesley Kemboi gave them maximum points with the winner inside the opening six minutes in a result that saw them climb to third on 40 points as Leopards remained stuck in 12th on 29.
Henry Omino’s Stima sealed the hat-trick of victories over Leopards this season following a 2-1 win in the reverse KPL fixture and the recent 3-0 whooping in the Round 16 of the GOtv Shield.
Interim Coach, Ezekiel Akwana, who is only two matches into his new tenure together with his players were eventually marshalled to the team’s dressing room as security personnel swung into action to stifle a swarm of furious fans from assaulting their own.
Elsewhere, Chemelil Sugar sunk Ulinzi Stars 1-0 courtesy of a Jared Obwoge goal to leap to fourth with 39 as Kakamega Homeboyz were forced to a 1-1 stalemate by Ushuru FC.
Ebrimah Sanneh had given Homeboyz the lead in the 75th but Stephen Wakhanya’s last gasp equaliser gave Ken Kenyatta’s side a valuable point that kept them seven points ahead of Nairobi City Stars who occupy the last relegation slot after the Kawangware based side thumped Bandari FC 3-1 on the road in Mombasa.
Cash-strapped City Stars, who are on 17, showed signs of the great escape form that has saved them from the chop in the last three-seasons after recovering from going behind to stun the hosts who went ahead through Omar Boraafya in the 16th before Jimmy Bageya, Benson Iregi and Oliver Maloba completed the turnaround.
At Nyayo, focus was on how Leopards would battle back after a week where the club dominated headlines with damning allegations four of their star men had contracted Sexually Transmitted Infections from a single lady.
As the game neared the end, the dispirited supporters who had expressed outrage on social media and other forums when the sordid story that was vehemently denied by the club’s hierarchy broke out, started belting songs mocking them for contracting venereal diseases.
And after the final whistle, they charged to the field and went after the players seeking answers to the dismal performance, holding them hostage in their dressing room after security led them out and blocked their team bus from leaving the venue.
They urged Akwana to streamline the playing unit they accused of deplorable discipline with the former Ingwe player saying post-match he would only deal with “those who want to play.”
Herbert Kopany had the first real chance for the visitors in the fourth, connecting well with Kemboi’s cross from the right but goalkeeper, Lucas Indeche, parried it out for a corner.
Ingwe did not heed the warning and three minutes later, they fell behind when Kenneth Muguna launched a swift counter-attack that saw the ball offloaded to Kopany whose shot was spilled into Kemboi’s path by Indeche for the opener.
The goal brought Leopards out of their shells with Simon Abuko and Eugene Ambulwa coming close in the 12th and 15th minutes but Stima braved the onslaught, prompting Akwana to with Moussa Sissoko in the 35th for Bernard Mang’oli.
Jack Bruno Kiyai wasted a glaring chance to level the match when he delayed with the ball a tad too long when put clean through on goal with the keeper off his line allowing the Stima defence to recover.
After the break, Akwana threw on former City Stars winger Yusuf Suf for Kiyai as his opposite number brought on Bernard Ondiek for Kennedy Otieno to reinforce his defence as he set his team to hold out and wait for the counter.
Suf soon made his presence felt when he sent in a floated free-kick into the box that was half-cleared but Andrew Tololwa who was lurking inside the danger area fired goal-wards to beat the keeper but Maurice Ojwang cleared his effort off the line.
John Ndirangu who came on for Abuko as the clock ticked to full-time was Akwana’s last throw of the dice but in-form Stima held on for victory.
-Additional reporting by Jacob Icia