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FKF Premier League

FKF Premier League in turmoil as government imposes lockdown in Nyanza region

07:27 BST 18/06/2021
AFC Leopards fans v Gor Mahia.
The local federation faces another setback as government banned sporting activities in 13 counties owing to the Covid-19 pandemic

The Football Kenya Federation may be forced to cancel the 2020-21 Premier League after the government moved to impose a lockdown on 13 counties following a spike in numbers of positive Covid-19 cases.

The government, through the Ministry of Health, issued a statement on Thursday confirming the last 14 days has seen Covid-19 infections in the counties of Busia, Vihiga, Kisii, Nyamira, Kakamega, Bungoma, Kericho, Bomet, Trans Nzoia, Kisumu, Siaya, Homa-Bay, and Migori constitute 60 percent of the national caseload.

While declaring the 13 counties as hotspot zones, the Ministry of Health further stated the rate of positive infections in the zoned out areas stood at an average of 21%, while that of the country was at 9%, and confirmed all public gatherings and in-person meetings of whatever nature are prohibited within the Hotspot Zones, including house parties and sporting activities.

It means the FKF top-flight, which is penciled to end on August 22, has suffered a huge blow as four teams come from the affected areas and might not be able to honour their remaining matches.

The four are Western Stima (Kisumu), Kakamega Homeboyz (Kakamega), Vihiga United (Vihiga), and Nzoia Sugar (Nzoia).

According to Homeboyz chairman Cleophas Shimanyula, the clubs have already received orders from the government to suspend even training sessions, meaning their participation in the league is now in jeopardy.

“Immediately the government made the announcement [to lockdown 13 Counties], I received a phone call being instructed to stop training sessions so it means we don’t know what to do next,” Shimanyula told Goal.

“We cannot afford to sustain these players to live outside their towns so we cannot be able to honour the remaining matches, it will not be possible and we now have to wait for FKF to give us direction on the matter.”

The FKF had already set June 30 as the date to announce the team that will represent the country in the Caf Champions League, insisting the top team on the table at that time will be handed the ticket.

The latest curfew will, however, not affect the final of the Shield Cup pitting rivals Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards, as it will be staged in Nairobi on July 4.

KCB are currently sitting top of the 18-team table with 39 points from 19 matches while Tusker are second on 38 points from 19 matches and AFC Leopards third on 37 points from the same number of matches.