SDT declares Gor Mahia 2019-2020 KPL Champions

The Sports dispute tribunal have sided with the FKF decision to declare Gor Mahia 2019-2020 league champions after the league ended with Gor Mahia still atop the charts.

Additional reporting from Citizen Sports

Football Kenya Federation will feel vindicated after the Sports Disputes Tribunal on Tuesday upheld its decision to halt the 2019/20 Kenyan Premier League season and declare Gor Mahia the Premier League champions.

FKF made the decision on April 30 this year at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic that had made the government to halt sports activities and any social gathering events in the country.

However the league management body contested the decision, arguing that due process wasn’t followed as it was the only entity with the authority to make a decision on whether to stop the league.

However on Tuesday, the Tribunal boss John Ohaga ruled that FKF was within its rights to make the decision.

Reacting to the ruling, KPL CEO Jack Oguda said they have no choice but ‘to respect the ruling’.

“The judge faulted our application that we did exhaust all dispute resolution mechanisms.

“We have to accept the ruling, that is the rule of law. The shareholder(KPL clubs chairmen) will have to decide on the next step,”he explained. “The chairman (Ambrose Rachier)will have to call a meeting for the club chairmen to decide the next step.

The decision to declare Gor champions divided opinion amongst soccer stakeholders with bitter rivals AFC Leopards indicating back then that they would challenge the decision.

However, hardly a week after declaring so, Leopards boss Dan Shikanda changed tune.

The ruling effectively paves way for the 2020/21 KPL season which is expected to commence as soon as the government gives the green light for the resumption of sports activities in the country.

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Polack: It is not realistic to restart the league

Gor Mahia coach Steve Polack has urged the KPL officials to be realistic about the fate of the 2019-2020. According to Polack, it is not possible to restart the

league now and then start the new season in August.

Additional reporting from the Standard.

Gor Mahia head coach Steven Polack claims it is realistically ‘impossible’ for the 2019/20 Kenyan Premier League (KPL) season to be played to its conclusion.

The conclusion of the current KPL season has been thrown into doubt owing to the coronavirus that is ravaging the world.

KPL which was supposed to end on May 23 was suspended in March with Gor Mahia sitting at the top with less than ten round of matches to go.

While Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa cancelled the league and declared Gor Mahia the champions as well as announced Nairobi City Stars’ promotion back to the topflight football in April, KPL Limited whose mandate to run the league expires on September 24 2020, have maintained that the league will not rush a decision over how this season will finish.

This is subject to a ruling by the Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT) on the status of the current season slated for June 30

But President Uhuru Kenyatta’s recent decision to extend both the nationwide dusk- to-dawn curfew and the cessation of movement in to and out of Nairobi and Mombasa counties to June 30, has further thrown the league and FKF Betway Cup’s conclusion into doubt.

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And it is on this premise that the British-Finnish tactician has urged the concerned football authorities to make a quick decision on the fate of the current season.

“Let KPL and FKF sort themselves out. But if they say we play, we will play. I’m confident in my players and staff. So, if they say we are playing tomorrow or we are starting in a few weeks then we will start,” Polack said after receiving his delayed February coach of the month award yesterday.

“But I think they need to look at the bigger picture before they make a big decision like that because they said the new season is supposed to start in August. So, if we have to wait for the president to make the decision on June 30, then we will have to train for four to five weeks and that takes us to August.

He added: “That means, the season won’t finish until either September or October. By the rules which I have read, after the last game of your season, you need to have 60 days before the first game of the new season starts.

“So, basically that means we will start the new season in January. So, they need to take a good look at that and make the decision very quickly not only for Gor Mahia but for the whole football in Kenya.

“I don’t know what they are waiting for because this has been going on for three months now yet you tell me that you don’t have a plan A or B in case of a lock down.”

Asked about Gor Mahia plans ahead of next season’s CAF Champions League, the former Asante Kotoko coach said: “First of all, we have to look at the players’ contracts. Some of their contracts are running down, so we need to know those ones we are going to keep or release. But we need to learn from the last CAF competition, we need to strengthen our squad because it’s not easy to play in those competitions.

“Basically, from my coaching experience, we need to get stability to go forward. If you look at the big teams in the world, they don’t keep on changing ten players every year because it’s impossible.

“But if you keep doing that, I don’t care which club you are, you won’t win anything. Therefore, it is my hope that we will keep hold of most of the players we have and make a few additions for next season.”

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Polack urges KPL to declare the fate of the league


Coach Steve Polack is urging the Kenya Premier League to get its act in order and declare tge fate of the 2019-2020 Kenya Premier League

Additional reporting from the Nation

Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack has told the Kenyan Premier League to show leadership by deciding the fate of the local football league instead of adopting a wait-and-see attitude.

Speaking to Nation Sport on Saturday, Polack urged the Kenyan Premier League to either make the decision to hand his club a 19th league title, or nullify the season.

Polack said it was time the league body decided the fate of the season which has seen all local football activities suspended following a ban on sports activities and social gatherings a day after Kenya recorded her first confirmed case of coronavirus on March 13. KPL suspended the top league with 10 rounds of matches remaining.

The outspoken coach downplayed the chances of the league running to conclusion following the extension of dawn to dusk curfew for another 30 days and cessation of movement in and out of Nairobi.

“I have washed my hands on the matter of the current season because it will be impossible to complete the remaining matches. As KPL meets this week, my proposal to them is to either cancel the season and hand over the title to us or nullify it,” he said yesterday.

CURFEW EXTENDED

President Uhuru Kenyatta Saturday extended the dusk to dawn curfew, but changed the timing from the initial 5am to 7pm to a new time of 4am to 9pm.
But the ban on sports activities remains in place.

“The remaining matches cannot be completed in late July yet the new season should start by late August. My focus is now on next season and not the remaining 10 matches,” he said.

The Briton agreed that either decision would evoke positive and negative reactions from different KPL clubs, more so those at the top and at the bottom of the table of standings.

He however said that as the body tasked with making decisions on such matters, KPL should not fear any backlash.

“They should not fear or engage in supremacy battles. What the president has done is for the safety of Kenyans, including footballers. KPL shouldn’t wait for another 30 days but should come out and give direction,” he added.

GOVERNING COUNCIL

On Tuesday, the league body hinted that matches could resume if the government relaxed some restrictions on movement. However, Nairobi and Mombasa counties are still under lockdown.

More than half of the KPL teams are based in Nairobi. Bandari is the only team from Mombasa.

Polack has often said that the fair way is to hand Gor Mahia the KPL title, but he would embrace any decision from KPL.

The 18-time champions Gor lead the KPL log on 54 points after 23 rounds of matches. This is seven points more than second-placed Kakamega Homeboyz who have been on the pitch 22 times.

Next week, a KPL Governing Council meeting, to be chaired by the chairman Ambrose Rachier, is expected to seal the fate of this season.

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KPL now says league will continue

As expected, KPL chair Jack Oguda is insisting that the annoucement by FKF Chair Nick Mwendwa is void

Additional reporting from the Nation

The Kenyan Premier League (KPL) has dismissed an announcement by Football Kenya Federation (FKF) President Nick Mwendwa cancelling the current season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The league was earlier suspended in March after the government’s directive banning the use of public sporting facilities, inter-county travel, and dusk to dawn curfew, among other measures meant to control the spread of the deadly virus.

Mwendwa declared the league cancelled in a series of tweets on Thursday and declared title holders Gor Mahia the winners.

KPL have in turn declared that a decision on how or when the league will end can only be made by them.

“As we reluctantly take note of your communication regarding FKF’s decision to end the KPL 2019/20 season prematurely, we once again wish to reiterate our position on this matter which we stated before. It is still our insistence that any decision concerning the status and the fate of the league should be made by the Kenyan Premier League as we are the body mandated to run the Kenyan Premier League,” KPL CEO Jack Oguda wrote to FKF on Friday.

The letter further stated: “FKF’s decision to end the league, without consulting the Kenyan Premier League, contravenes various clauses in the FKF-KPL Agreement and the SDT Ruling on the FKF-KPL Agreement.

“The agreement is clear on the obligations of KPL and FKF in as far as management of the Kenyan Premier League is concerned and, therefore, KPL would like clarification on which organ within FKF’s structure met, deliberated, and made a decision regarding the status of the league.”

SDT RULING

KPL also urged FKF to respect the Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT) recent ruling that ended the term of the federation’s National Executive Council (NEC).

“We seek to know this considering that the SDT Ruling of March 17, 2020, stated that the term of the FKF National Executive Committee (NEC) had ended. KPL is bound to that SDT Ruling and implementing any purported decisions emanating from unauthorised persons will amount to contempt of court. As a Law-abiding institution, KPL would like to avoid doing so,”

The Sports Dispute Tribunal indeed ruled that the FKF NEC’s mandate had lapsed and also called for the formation of a normalisation committee to run the affairs of the federation pending national elections

Oguda also posed: “FKF’s decision to end the league on the plain pretext that CAF asked for information regarding strategies put in place to ensure the conclusion of the KPL 2019-­20 season reeks of malice. Would FKF have made that decision if CAF had not sought clarity?”

The league body said it was eager to end the current season once the coronavirus curve had been flattened in the country.

Oguda argued that it was still possible to finish the league by the end of July 2020.

He termed FKF’s declaration as “knee jerk reactions” that did not explore other avenues which would give teams a sporting chance.

Oguda said that a Governing Council decision on the best and most practical way forward would be decided once the Government lifted the ban on public gatherings including resuming matches.

FKF President Nick Mwendwa, however, insisted they followed the football rules on ending the league prematurely and the same applied to all the other top football club competitions in the country.

Accordingly, Nairobi City Stars, who were at the helm of the National Super League, have been promoted to the KPL while Chemelil Sugar has dropped to the second-tier competition.

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Update: Mwendwa says Gor Mahia should be declared champions if league is incomplete

FKF Chair Nick Mwendwa has stated that according to FIFA statutues, Gor Mahia should be league champions if the league is not completed.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Football Kenya Federation President Nick Mwendwa has said Gor Mahia should be declared the Kenyan Premier League champions this season if the league doesn’t resume due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The disease has so far claimed four lives in the country with 142 recorded infections.

According to the youthful football administrator, the results from all teams thus far in the season will be used to determine the winners and those to be relegated.

Speaking in a local radio station on Saturday, Mwendwa said the Fifa rules apply when the season is not completed due to unavoidable circumstances and that should be the situation in the Kenyan Premier League.

“If the league is stopped before half of the season at any eventuality the league is cancelled indefinitely. If the games played are more than half and less than 75 per cent then league standings at half season is used to determine the league winners in all the league tiers,” said Mwendwa.

The third instance he quoted is that if the games played are more than 75 per cent played then league standings at that point determines the league winners in all tiers.

The second options applies for this season since there are between 11 and 10 games remaining depending on each team which does not account for 75 per cent.

This means that in any case the league doesn’t resume due to the coronavirus pandemic K’Ogalo will retain their title and win it for the fourth season in a row.

At 16 round of matches, Gor were leading the table on 38 points, four ahead of Tusker who were second on 34, followed by Kakamega Homeboyz with 33 points.

Going by the same rule, the teams to be relegated are Chemelil Sugar, who were bottom of the table with four points at the half way stage, while Kisumu All Stars were one place above them on eight points and Nzoia Sugar third on 10 points.

KPL chief executive officer Jack Oguda, has in the past talked about the league sitting together to agree on a common ground on how to determine the outcome of this season’s competition should the rest of the matches not be held.
KPL says the league will resume

KPL CEO Jack Oguda has said that the 2019-2020 Kenya Premier league is suspended indefinitely

Additional reporting from the Nation

The league had been halted for three weeks following government’s directive against public gatherings following the coronavirus pandemic, but now, KPL, through a statement signed by Oguda, has revealed the league will remain suspended.

“Kenyan Premier League wishes to inform clubs participating in the 2019-20 KPL season and all stakeholders that league fixtures remain suspended owing to the difficult time we are all experiencing at the moment,” the statement reads in part.

“We will issue an update on when league fixtures will resume as soon as the current situation improves. We urge everyone to stay safe and adhere to the precautionary measures announced by the Government,” it adds.

With discussions on the fate of the current season going on, KPL has clarified that matches will resume once the coronavirus is contained and the 2019-20 season will, therefore, have to end before another season kicks off.

Gor Mahia currently leads the standings with 54 points having played 23 matches.

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Uncertainty over how will 2019-2020 KPL title be decided

There is some uncertainty about the 2019-2020 KPL league. With Covid-19 taking centre stage, there is a likelihood that the remaining matches will be canceled. So how will the league be decided.

FKF CEO Barry Otieno says they are considering all options but they are likely to use the current KPL standings to determine the league winners, if the coronavirus pandemic persists.

“There is a possibility that we could use the current Kenyan Premier League standings to determine the champions.  But this is not the definite position because we are still deliberating and we don’t know how long it will take for the coronavirus to be contained,” Otieno told Standard Sports.

“We are still engaging the government as we monitor the situation because this is a global problem. But in case it will not be remedied in the foreseeable future and because CAF will need us to submit a name for next season’s Champions League competition, we will have no option but to use the current KPL standings to make that decision.” Otieno continued.

Asked about the FKF Betway Cup, whose committee is set to meet today to decide the fate of Gor Mahia, KCB and Bandari, who skipped last weekend’s round of 16 matches, Otieno said:

“For Betway Cup, it has to be played to its conclusion because we don’t have an alternative to choose the team to represent the country in the Confederation Cup. We are engaging the government and all those involved to ensure the Cup comes to its conclusion to the best interest of all stakeholders.”

But for KPL CEO Jack Oguda, they will only make the decision on the league after getting the green light from the government.

“It is our hope that the league will come to its inclusion but this depends on the state of the coronavirus as updated by the government. The league might stretch and then force teams to have a short preseason. Those are some of the possibilities,” said Oguda to the Standard.

“Even CAF and Fifa have said they will have to monitor the situation closely and there could be a change in calendar. That’s why as KPL, we are not in a rush to make a decision and we will make so after getting a directive from the government.”

Homeboyz disagree

Kakamega Homeboyz chairman Cleophas Shimanyula differed with FKF CEO’s opinion to award Gor Mahia the title.

“As far as I’m concerned, if this coronavirus persists, then we should have a play-off between the top two teams in a neutral ground. I think this will be a fair decision to determine the champion because this title race is too close to call,” said Shimanyula.

However, for Tusker chairman Daniel Aduda, FKF and KPL should borrow a leaf from European league’s rule book.

“This coronavirus is beyond our control but if push comes to shove and we are forced to end the league prematurely then we should take a leaf from the other developed league’s rule book. Let’s go with the best practice in the world,” said Aduda.

 

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Gor Mahia edge AFC Leopards 1-0

Scorer: Boniface Omondi

Gor Mahia scored a crucial victory over arch rivals AFC Leopards at Kasarani on Sunday. Crucial because it keeps Gor Mahia’s march towards the 2019-2020 KPL title on course. And also crucial because a win over the arch rival is the most important victory of the season. The all important goal came via Boniface Omondi in the 27th minute.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Boniface Omondi scored the winner for K’Ogalo in the 27th minute to ensure the team completes a double over Ingwe having won the first leg encounter 4-1.

Gor Mahia has now beaten AFC Leopards 29 times in the league. With the win, the league champions stretch their lead at the top of the table to 54 points from 23 games, while AFC Leopards is sixth with 40 points, having played the same number of matches.

A Gor Mahia fan cheers his team during the
A Gor Mahia fan cheers his team during the Mashemeji Derby at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on March 8, 2020. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |
Despite the win solidifying Gor Mahia’s lead at the top, coach Steven Pollack said the title race is far from over.

“One win doesn’t mean we have won the league. We still have more games left and have to work hard in the remaining games. However, I am very proud of my boys, they did well to contain the pressure especially in the second half,” he said after the match.

“AFC Leopards however have improved so much and I think their coach has done a good job – kudos to him. They fought hard especially in the second half and I am very happy to have won the game,” he added.

uizaIngwe coach Anthony Kimani rued his side’s missed chances.

“We missed a couple of very good chances in both halves, while Gor Mahia utilised one of theirs. However, I’m proud of my boys, they showed character and a good fighting spirit,” he said.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, attending his first ever Kenyan Premier League match, waved at the cheering crowd as the referee blew the whistle to kick off the 88th ‘Mashemeji Derby’ He was accompanied by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, former Vice President Musalia Mudavadi and Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed.

AFC Leopards were evidently the better side from the onset and missed a couple of good goal scoring chances, Elvis Rupia was twice denied by Gor Mahia custodian Boniface Oluoch.

Gor Mahia grew in the game and got their first real chance in the 21st minute, captain Kenneth Muguna’s shot from outside the box flying just inches wide. Muguna was at if at again five minutes later with a clever header after a quick cross by Jackson Owusu, but Ingwe custodian Benjamin Ochan averted the danger.

K’Ogalo opened the scoring through Boniface Omondi in the 27th minute. He capitalised on a goalmouth melee after an inviting cross by Clifton Miheso to slot in.

Nicholas Kipkirui missed a seater just before the break, blasting his effort wide with just Ochan to beat as the game went to the break with Gor Mahia on the front foot.

On resumption, Ingwe brought in Boniface Mukhekhe for the ineffective Jaffary Odenyi. Ingwe won a free kick just outside the box in the 51st minute after Austine Odhiambo was fouled by Charles Momanyi, but Washington Munene’s resultant free kick was easily handled by Gor Mahia keeper Boniface Oluoch.

Clifton Miheso forced Benjamin Ochan to a finger tip save five minutes later as both sides continued their hunt for goals. Miheso was minutes later rested, former Ulinzi Stars forward Sammy Onyango taking his place.

Rupia missed a golden opportunity to equalise with only an empty net to tap in to after Boniface Mukhekhe released an inviting cut back into the box that found the Gor Mahia defenders napping.

Gor Mahia brought in Juma Balinya for Nicholas Kipkirui in the 70th minute as they continued to dominate the proceedings.

Two minutes later, Ingwe forward Vincent Oburu failed to connect to an in swinger by the impressive Mukhekhe. Oburu was then taken off, former Kariobangi Sharks and Vihiga United forward Francis Manoah taking his place.

With 10 minutes to go, Gor Mahia brought in Ernest Wendo to steady the ship in midfield, taking the place of goalscorer Boniface Omondi, who had put in a good shift by all standards.

AFC Leopards rested Saad Tsuma, bringing in former Nzoia Sugar forward Hansel Ochieng. Collins Shivachi cleared Juma Balinya’s shot from the line in the 83rd minute as Gor continued to press for a second goal.

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Gor Mahia switch off Western Stima 3-2

Kipkirui celebrates

Gor Mahia on Saturday dispatched a determined Western Stima side by a score of 3-2. Gor Mahia were leading 3-0 after 14 minutes before the Power men fought back. Goals came from Boniface Omondi, Kenneth Muguna and Nicholas Kipkirui.

This coupled with Tusker’s 2-2 draw against Kisumu All Stars, puts Gor Mahia in good position to defend the league title.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Champions Gor Mahia move sevens point clear at the summit of the Kenyan Premier League with a hard-fought 3-2 win over Western Stima at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani in Nairobi on Saturday.

The powermen have emerged as one of Gor Mahia’s stubborn opponents in recent times, as they have not lost to the champions in the last three league meetings.

In this season’s first leg match in Kisumu, the two sides drew 1-1.

But this changed quickly at Kasarani on Saturday as Bonface Omondi Kenneth Muguna and Nichols Kipkirui struck inside the opening 13 minutes to give the champions a comfortable 3-0 lead before Baron Oketch and Benson Ochieng’ rduced the deficit for the visitors late on.

The defeat was a blow to Stima who came into this match looking to bring to a halt their five-match winless streak.

Omondi opened the scoring three minutes into the match before Muguna scored against his former employers on 10 minutes after collecting a loose ball outside the box, to beat goalkeeper John Njau with a low drive.

And three minutes later, Kipkirui placed the game beyond their opponents reach with an easy finish, after Njau had miscalculated his run.

Stima twice missed an opportunity to respond from corner-kick deliveries, before their first best chance arrived in the 23rd minute, but goalkeeper Fredrick Odhiambo was alert and saved Benson Ochieng’s header.

In the 28th minute, Stima coach Salim Babu withdrew Vitalis Akumu who had earlier been booked for Kevin Akongo.

Three minutes to the break, Oketch reduced the deficit for Stima from the spot after Ochieng’ was fouled inside the box.

Oketch came close to making it 3-2 but Odhiambo stretched well to clear the danger.

Gor continued to dominate exchanges in the early minutes of the second-half, but Stima defence dealt with their attacks.

Ten minutes into the second-half, coach Steven Polack made a change, introducing Samuel Onyango for Cliffton Miheso.

Goalkeeper Njau was forced to leave his line early and make a save on 63 minutes, before an on rushing Samuel Onyango could connect.

Ochieng’ benefitted from a defensive lapse in the 75th minute to score Stima’s second goal.

Thereafter, the tempo of the match went down and Stima failed to create another chance to share spoils with the champions.

The win sees Gor Mahia open a seven-point gap at the helm of the standings. Second-placed Kakamega Homeboyz, who host Nzoia Sugar on Sunday at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega, could reduce the gap to four points with victory over sugar millers.

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Gor Mahia in escape against Zoo Kericho 3-2

Gor Mahia once again came from behind twice. This time they needed a 90th minute goal from Samuel Onyango to win 3-2 against Zoo Kericho at Kericho Green stadium on Sunday. Zoo had taken a 1-0 lead at halftime. Gor Mahia equalized in the 53rd minute. But Zoo took the lead again in the 67th minute.  Kipkirui scored against his former team to level the score. Before Samuel Onyango scored from a goalmouth melee.

Additional reporting from the Nation

A last-minute strike by Samuel Onyango handed Gor Mahia a convincing 3-2 win over Zoo FC in a Kenyan Premier League match at Kericho Green Stadium on Sunday.

Following the result, Gor Mahia remain top with 48 points while Kakamega Homeboyz climb to second with 44 points after thrashing Chemelil 6-0 at Bukhungu Stadium.

Zoo had the upper hand to cause an upset but poor defending cost them. The hosts, who dominated majority of the first half, opened the scoring through Kepha Ondati’s low shot after he caught Gor defenders napping.

Zoo forwards Collins Neto and Bernard Odhiambo were a constant threat to Gor’s defence in the first half.

K’Ogalo missed a chance to restore parity in the 31st minute when Geoffrey Ochieng’s shot wide after Clifton Miheso picked him out with a delivery from a freekick.

But Elvis Ronack made no mistake in the 54th minute to level the scores. However, the hosts regained their lead through Mathew Odongo who capped a brilliant solo run with a goal in the 67th minute.

Nicholas Kipkirui punished his former employers in the 77th minute after converting from close range following a goal-mouth melee.

Gor continued to pile pressure and it’s Onyango who found the winner at the stroke of full time with a powerful shot.

Elsewhere at Bukhungu Stadium, title contenders Kakamega Homeboyz humiliated Chemelil Sugar 6-0 in a lopsided match.

The victors scored their goals via Chris Masinza who netted a brace, Benjamin Oketch, Shami Kibwana, Ronald Omino and Peter Thiong’o.

Efforts by Chemelili forwards Frank Doso, Richard Oti and Paul Odanga to secure an early lead were thwarted by a strong backline led by Kennedy Onyango.

Homeboyz, however, stunned their opponents in the 10th minute when Masinza scored the first goal after connecting to David Okoth’s cross from the left.

Chemelil resorted to long balls after they were unable to penetrate Homeboyz’s defence.

Oketch doubled Homeboyz lead with a rasping drive from the edge of the box which flew past custodian Daniel Kiptoo in the 37th minute.

At the stroke of half time, Homeboyz roving attacker Masinza netted the third after he was put through by Oketch.

In the 55th minute, Omino fastened on a loose ball in the box to score the fifth for the hosts before Thiong’o sealed the big win with a goal of his own.

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Gor Mahia held by Western Stima 1-1

Samuel Onyango in action against Stima

Gor Mahia’s 2019-2020 league campaign once again veered off track when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Western Stima at Kisumu on Wednesday. Gor Mahia’s goal was scored by Clifford Miheso. But disaster had stuck earlier in the 10th minute when Joash Onyango was sent off for fouling Benson Omalla. Which means Gor Mahia had to play most of the match with 10 men.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Gor Mahia Wednesday settled for a 1-1 draw with Western Stima in a Kenyan Premier League match at Moi Stadium, Kisumu.

Both sides finished the match with 10 men in the fiercely contested clash after Joash Onyango (Gor) and Oramchan Villa (Stima) were sent off.

Gor remain top with 45 points from 20 matches while Western Stima are still seventh with 32 points.

“The draw is okay considering we were playing most of the match with 10 men so I’m quite okay with how the boys played after the red card,” said Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack.

“I’m okay with the results as a draw is better than a loss,” said Western Stima coach Salim Babu.

The match was off to a slow start as neither side settled in the early exchanges.

Gor suffered a setback in the 12th minute when their defender Joash Onyango was red carded after hacking down goal-bound teenage sensation Benson Omala.

Polack introduced Joachim Oluoch for Geoffrey Ochieng in the 18th minute in what was a tactical move to counter the numerical disadvantage.

After a goalless first half, K’Ogalo grabbed the lead against the run of play when Cliffton Miheso lobbed Stima goalkeeper John Mwangi in the 52nd minute.

Babu responded by resting Chamberi Wankuru for Henry Onyango tow minutes later. And Stima got the equaliser in the 65th minute through Villa who beat Gor keeper Bonface Oluoch with a low shot.

Stima’s goal irked Gor supporters as they argued that Villa was offside.

“I believe the officials were not fair enough in today’s game but we can do nothing but accept the outcome,” said Polack.

Villa turned from hero to villain when he was sent off for a nasty sliding tackle on Gor midfielder Lawrence Juma.

Gor had a late chance to win the game but Juma shot straight at Mwangi.

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