The Star (Nairobi)

7 February 2013

Kenya: AFC Leopards Coach Decries Poor State of Stadia

AFC Leopards chairman Alex ole Magelo has called on the Kenyan Premier League to ensure the state of the stadia to be used this season are up to standards.

Magelo observed that some pitches that have been used in previous KPL editions have not been favourable to players in the Premier League.

"Players have been getting nasty but unnecessary injuries owing to bad playing surface," he said. "I am calling on KPL to evaluate some of these stadia right before matches and if not found conducive, action has to be taken."

He cited Bukhungu, Muhoroni, Thika and Chemelil, the host venue for their 2013 season opener, as one of the biggest examples. He observed that unnecessary injuries cost the team dearly last year, saying this would have been avoided. "Some of our best players were forced to play for the better part of the season with injuries," said Magelo.

Leopards at one time had all their top players including --Martin Imbalabala, lead striker Mike Baraza and his counterparts Allan Wanga, Paul Were, Victor Ochieng and Jimmy Bageya, defender Eric Masika and utility Amon Muchiri-- down with injuries. "It is time the country invested in some of these venues since all of us cannot fit at Nyayo and Kasarani," observed Magelo.

Meanwhile, Magelo has revealed that his side is set for two friendly matches, against Bomet Combined on Saturday and against Karuturi Sports on February 16, on their way to Chemelil for the opener on February 26.

Elsewhere, Gor Mahia will face Kariobangi Sharks on Saturday in a friendly duel. The match will be used to fill in for the match-less gap that was created after the league kick-off was pushed back by one week.

Confirming the friendly plans, the club's goal-keeping trainer Abdul Iddi Salim said the match will help the players maintain their form ahead of the competitive phase.

"We will be playing Kariobangi Sharks on Saturday because we need to keep the players in active form as part of our preparations," added Salim.

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