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The former K’Ogalo official says it will be wrong for the federation to seek the services of foreign referees for league derbies

Ex-Gor Mahia official Omondi Aduda has openly castigated plans by Football Kenya Federation (FKF) to hire foreign referees to handle derbies involving the champions and AFC Leopards.

On Thursday, FKF President Nick Mwendwa exclusively told Goal they have already mooted plans to hire foreign referees for contentious matches in the Premier League including the derbies involving Ingwe and K’Ogalo.

According to Mwendwa, the move will help end contentious issues that arise from such matches involving the giants of Kenyan football and further said they will also hire foreign referees to officiate in league matches especially when two or three teams are fighting for the title with few matches remaining to the end of the season.

Aduda, who contested for the presidential seat and lost during the past FKF elections, has now told Goal that Kenya has competent referees capable of handling such situations and gave an example of a recent Caf Champions League match between Simba SC of Tanzania and Plateau United of Nigeria which was officiated by Kenyan officials in Tanzania.

“I don’t support the idea [to hire foreign referees], we already have top qualified referees in the country who can do the job,” Aduda told Goal. “It is unfortunate for the federation to think along those lines, I don’t think it is necessary to take such a decision.

“Two weeks ago, it was Kenyan referees who were in charge of the Caf match between Simba and Plateau United and no questions were raised after the game, it shows you even our very own can do the job, they have done it before and can still do it.

“Instead, of taking such a decision [to hire foreign referees], FKF should be thinking on how to educate and nurture more referees in the country, they should be working on how to support those we already have because that is the only way to develop as a country.”

On confirming the move to hire foreign referees, Mwendwa told Goal: “What we are saying, we have matches in the Premier League which are contentious and officiating of such matches always raises a lot of debate and sometimes it tends to spoil the game.

“One of the matches is the derby, and the other one is when we have a tight race for the title, if we have such a scenario where teams are fighting for the title, teams are separated by two or three points, then we will hire foreign referees to come to oversee the league [games].

“We will get them from Uganda, Tanzania, or even Rwanda, that is the idea, actually what we are looking at is to advance fairness in the eyes of everybody handling these especially the derby which always raises eyebrows.”

Asked whether Kenyan referees will not feel aggrieved by the move to hire foreign counterparts, Mwendwa said: “They will not feel aggrieved because most of them don’t want to officiate in such matches, we have just mooted the idea and we hope it will bring fairness especially during contentious matches.”

This season’s first derby will see Ingwe host K’Ogalo on March 6, 2021, at Nyayo Stadium before the second round duel is set for the same venue on May 23, 2021.

Last season, Gor Mahia won both encounters, beating Ingwe 4-1 in the first round match before edging them out by a solitary goal en-route to winning their fourth straight league title.

AFC Leopards are yet to beat Gor Mahia in their last seven matches with the best result against their rivals coming in the 1-1 draw of the 2017-18 season with Gor Mahia winning the second round fixture 1-0.

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December 19, 2020
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