Gor Mahia have defended their decision not to honour their FKF Shield Cup Round of 16 match against Posta Rangers on Saturday, owing to the effects of the coronavirus.
The Kenyan champions were due to take on the Mailmen with a quarter-final slot at stake but instead, refused to travel to Nakuru citing the directive issued by the government when the first case of the Covid-19 was discovered in the country on Friday.
The Kenyan government had banned meetings of more than 15 people, religious meetings, crusades, and sports activities to help curb the spread of the deadly disease which has swept across the world and stopped a number of activities.
Despite the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) issuing a directive that the knockout matches were to go on as scheduled and played behind closed doors, Gor Mahia, KCB and Bandari did not turn up for their respective fixtures.
Gor Mahia have now stated they did not fear to play against the Mailmen but were following the directive from the government as a law-abiding club.
“It was all over in the media that the government had stopped all sports activities for a period of time and it is the reason we did not travel to Nakuru for our match against Rangers,” Gor Mahia CEO Omondi Aduda told Goal on Sunday.
“Gor Mahia are a law-abiding club and immediately the government issued the orders, we disbanded camp and allowed the players to go home, so there was no way we could raise a team again to travel to Nakuru for the fixture.
“We don’t have any issues with playing again when normalcy returns and that is what we told FKF in our letter to them. We are ready to play against Rangers as soon the government says all is well, but we cannot risk the lives of our players and officials.
“Football is a group meeting which involves players coming to contact and it is very easy to get the [Covid-19 virus].”
On whether FKF moves ahead to disqualify them from the competition, Aduda told Goal: “I don’t think it will be the best solution, we had our team in the camp until the directive from the government, so it means we were ready to play against them.
“We will wait and see what decision they come up with but in my opinion, they should set a new date for the clash, and not even our match alone, but all the Shield Cup matches which were not played on Saturday.”
Earlier, FKF CEO Barry Otieno confirmed to Goal the league committee will meet on March 17 to decide the fate of Gor Mahia, Bandari and KCB.