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Gor Mahia FC fans vow to fight hooliganism

17 February 2014, 08:15

Nairobi - Fans of the Kenyan Premier League champions have vowed to fight against hooliganism that has of late whittled down match attendance and affected gate collections.

Meeting in Nairobi Saturday, the fans gave their word that they will do everything possible including citizen's arrest against hooligans to bring the menace to a halt.

"The time to bury heads in the sand is over. This meeting is a manifestation that answers to problems deviling the club will come from the below and not the office to impose solutions," Chris Omondi, the club's Secretary General told the supporters.

"Hooliganism must be phased out and it needs a multi-faceted approach. However before that is done we have to accept that it exists among us as the first step to finding a lasting solution."

He said hooliganism is criminal and the rule of law should not allow it to take place and called on every stakeholder to play their role.

The ugly face of hooliganism has haunted the good fortunes of the club that has in the past caused league matches to be called off and hefty fines imposed on the club.

Omondi said hooliganism manifests itself in the destruction of property, hurting people and destroying property, and verbal tirade that cause emotional injury.

"A good sportsman must also accept to lose. We have always told our fans that there are better ways of solving matters however much they are aggrieved including lodging an appeal with the relevant authorities instead of injuring people and destroying property."

Ben Agunda who described himself as a Gor Mahia member called for patience among the club's followers and added that accepting to talk about the subject is one step of fighting the vice.

"Business people around the stadia where we play have recorded thriving sales because of our numbers, and who knows, maybe they have inadvertently become our followers," Agunda told the fans.

The Langata Police Division under whose jurisdiction Nyayo Stadium, venue of some of the most epic hooliganism fights have been staged, warned that stern action will be taken against anybody found to be destroying property and causing injury to others.

"Police are not going to stand by and watch hoodlums smashing into stadium offices and carrying away chairs and other property. We only use teargas after the situation reaches a climax," John Omuko, Langata Deputy Officer Commanding Station (OCS) said.

The fans expressed worry that the despicable actions by a section of them may well affect sponsorship which expires March 31, 2014 that amounted to 350,000 U.S. dollars in the last season.

"Corporate sponsorship is tied to image. No sponsor is willing to be identified with topsy-turvy behavior and with the deadline approaching, we are keeping our fingers crossed," the Secretary General cautioned.

Gor Mahia won the 2013 league after a dry spell of 18 years after a long wait that commenced in 1995.

Kasarani Stadium went into frenzy amidst wild jubilation by enthusiastic Gor fans after their inspirational captain and goalkeeper Jerim Onyango was handed the prestigious trophy by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

In 2012, Gor Mahia lost the title on the last day when they settled for a draw with Thika United at a time only a win would have seen them become champions.

Gor Mahia has the most enthusiastic fans known as the "Green Army", after the club's uniform colours, which follow the team over the country whenever they have a match.

Soon after winning the title last year, the fans as part of the Gor Mahia Fans Foundation, under their corporate social responsibility participated in a visit to Kenyatta National Hospital to share love with the sick ones.

The event was organized by fans to share the champion's feeling with the community. They contributed toys, toiletries and other consumables for the comfort of the children in hospital.

They also contributed money out of which a good portion went towards offsetting bills for the most needy of the children in hospital.

The "Green Army" follows the team whenever and wherever it plays, offering vocal support that has enabled the club reach the far it has got to.

- Xinhua

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