‘Please help us’ - Shikanda reveals AFC Leopards coach Aussems' exit threat
AFC Leopards chairman Dan Shikanda has sent a passionate plea to the government to consider giving them access to the main stadiums – Kasarani and Nyayo – for their FKF Premier League matches.
Since the league resumed four weeks ago, teams based in Nairobi have been sharing two pitches – Ruaraka and Utalii grounds – and with rains pounding the city and its environs on a daily basis, the playing surfaces are in a deplorable state.
Despite efforts by the Football Kenya Federation to secure the usage of the main stadia – Kasarani and Nyayo – the government has remained mum on the matter, insisting the former is being prepared to host the World Athletics Championship, while the latter is still under renovation.
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Shikanda has now told Goal they face a dilemma over the pitch issue as their head coach Patrick Aussems has threatened to quit because of the condition of the surface his players are being forced to use.
What has been said?
“It is not a laughing matter anymore, we just want to appeal to the government to come to our rescue and give us access to either Kasarani or Nyayo for the remaining league matches, we are kindly asking, please help us,” Shikanda told Goal on Sunday.
“The situation is now affecting even the team including our coach [Aussems] who has insisted if we don’t change the venues we are using, for now, then he will quit, he has mentioned it to us not more than three times.
“He is very upset to play at Ruaraka and he was telling us, the venue is not for professionals but maybe for the upcoming players, he wants to see a top brand of passing football which cannot be displayed at Ruaraka, he feels the venue can harm players with injuries and it is not to the required standards.
“He had mentioned after the Posta Rangers game he will not go back to Ruaraka and then when we played our next game, it was lined up there, we had to convince him to take the team, he was very upset and still we don’t see if anything is being done to save the situation.”
Are Kenyans serious with football?
Shikanda continued: “Aussems was asking us, don’t you people love football in Kenya? This is unacceptable, why do you have to play football in such conditions and deplorable pitches?”
“We want to ask the government to come in and help us, let them give us either Kasarani or Nyayo, we are all sportsmen, athletics is sports and football is sports, we should not pick who uses what, we are intending to use the inside pitch while athletics is using the tartan track, those are two different things which cannot stop the government from allowing us access.”
Apart from AFC Leopards, other teams based in Nairobi include champions Gor Mahia, Tusker, KCB, Posta Rangers, Nairobi City Stars, Mathare United, and Kariobangi Sharks.