FKF suspends five KPL referees

By alex wafula
Aug 06, 2021
  • Centre Referee Israel Mpaima has been suspended for 90 days. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

Football Kenya Federation on Friday suspended five referees and one match commissioner .

This is to address concerns about the level of officiating in the league. The five referees, two of them FIFA accredited and the match commissioner will be suspended for 90 days. As a result, they won’t officiate any league fixture until next season.

Those suspended by the FKF referee’s commission for errors done in KPL matches are FIFA centre referees Israel Mpaima and Joseph Achila as well as assistant referees Oliver Ouma, Godfrey Ndiva and Zachariah Achira.

Match commissioner Dominic Wenda was suspended after failing to report an assault on an assistant referee during a KPL match between Muhoroni Youth and Sony Sugar.

Mpaima was alleged to have made a wrong decision in awarding Tusker FC a last minute penalty against Ulinzi Stars at the Afraha Stadium on July 10, 2016. Tusker FC won 2-1.

Assistant referee Ouma has been axed over another incident involving a Tusker FC match, having wrongly flagged offside a legitimate goal by Chemelil’s David Ojuang with the match ending 2-2 on July 17.

The same case of disallowing a legitimate goal for an offside also cost Ndiva his place in the referee’s roster, having denied Homeboyz a clear goal in their match against Gor Mahia.

Achira was found guilty of allowing an offside goal by AFC Leopards to stand in their match against Mathare United on July 16 with the match referee in the same game Achila being suspended for failing to award AFC Leopards a clear penalty.

“We accept that at some point the errors are human, but we cannot allow blatant errors, very obvious decisions being ignored because we want to protect the reputation of the game,” Nick Mwendwa, the FKF president said as he announced the disciplinary measures.

He also said the federation will be reconstituting the referee’s appointing committee, with a dedicated three-member panel set to work on the KPL while another four-member team will work on the other leagues.

Concerns by players and coaches

Coaches and players had been raising concern over the level of officiating, with Mathare’s Francis Kimanzi being the most vocal.

Meanwhile, with FKF working on sorting out the level of officiating, clubs will be switching their concentration to high levels this weekend. Having failed to win in their last three consecutive matches, Tusker FC face fellow limping giants Mathare United on Saturday at the Kasarani Stadium.

Tusker’s loss to Thika United in midweek cut out their lead at the top to just two points from second-placed Gor Mahia.

“We have to be worried because that’s not a comfortable gap bearing in mind we were seven points clear at some point. We need to bounce back and though we know it will be tough against Mathare, we have our focus set on getting those three points,” skipper James Situma offered.

The first leg between these two sides ended in a two-all draw.

At the same time, Gor Mahia play against Bandari at the Moi Stadium in Kisumu. Bandari have won three of their last matches.

Ken Odhiambo, the stand-in coach has urged his charges to keep their engines running against Gor  Mahia. 

In another tough fixture this weekend, AFC Leopards face Ushuru FC at the Mumias Complex on Saturday. The taxmen are still bleeding from their huge 0-4 loss in midweek at home to Western Stima.

AFC Leopards are still unbeaten in the second leg, but coach Ivan Minnaert is worried that fatigue might catch up with his boys.

“We played in Mumias last weekend, travelled back to Nairobi and played on Wednesday. Now we are travelling again to Mumias and I know this is going to be tough for us. But I think I will make some changes to the team to ensure we are fresh,” the Belgian said.

Ulinzi off to Kigali

Elsewhere, Ulinzi Stars left the country on Friday for Kigali, Rwanda, where they will represent the Kenya Defense Forces in the East Africa Military Games.

Ulinzi lost the title last year to Rwanda’s APR. 

“We have prepared very well and with the form we have picked in the league. It is our hope to come back with the trophy,” captain James Saruni said.

The travelling party only consisted of 16 players.

KPL Weekend fixtures

Saturday: AFC Leopards v Ushuru FC (Mumias Complex, 2 p.m.), Western Stima v Sony Sugar (Afraha Stadium 3 p.m.), Mathare United v Tusker FC (Kasarani Stadium, 4:15 p.m.); Sunday: Gor Mahia v Bandari (Moi Stadium Kisumu, 2 p.m.), Sofapaka v City Stars (Kenyatta Stadium Machakos (3 p.m.), Thika United v Kakamega Homeboyz (Ksarani Stadium, 3 p.m.), Chemelil Sugar v Muhoroni Youth (Chemelil Complex, 3 p.m.).