AFC Leopards chairman Dan Shikanda has welcomed the decision taken by the Sports Dispute Tribunal to stop the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) from ending the 2019-20 Kenyan Premier League (KPL) season.
The FKF through president Nick Mwendwa had moved to announce they had ended the league and crowned leaders Gor Mahia as champions, and also promoted National Super League (NSL) leaders Nairobi City Stars and second-placed Bidco United.
But in a ruling delivered on Tuesday after the KPL took the matter to court in a joint suit with Chemelil Sugar, the SDT chairman John Ohaga overruled the FKF decision until a hearing is held to determine the outcome of the matter.
“We are welcome the ruling with both hands, it is something every club in KPL was waiting for and we are happy the court has given the clubs the justice they were asking for,” Shikanda told Goal on Wednesday.
“We should stop encouraging what FKF tried to do, how can someone wake up without even consulting with clubs or even stakeholders and goes ahead to end the league and also award Gor Mahia?
“Apart from Kenya, which other team has forwarded name for league winners to Caf?
“Why were FKF in a hurry to hand in the name? What is the issue for the name to rush?
“Furthermore, he made the decision alone, he never consulted anyone and it was wrong.”
On whether it will be possible for the FKF to recall Gor Mahia’s name from Caf, Shikanda said: “Yes and that is what they must do, they should recall the name, they have done a mistake already and should move to remove the name from Caf, what were we hiding to an extend we moved fast to give [Gor Mahia] name to Caf?”
Shikanda further said the FKF were spoiling Gor Mahia’s name by handing them the trophy when the league has not been played to the end.
“It will remain on record Gor Mahia were given the trophy and never won it on the pitch,” Shikanda continued.
“Everyone will keep saying they were helped to win the trophy and did not deserve it and that is not a good name for Gor Mahia.
“I am the AFC Leopards chairman and cannot wake up to make decisions without consulting the other officials, we have a team which works under me and I have to consult or sit with my officials to make any decision for the club, and what FKF did was to announce ending league without talking to us.
“For example, [Mwendwa] should have called KPL for a round table meeting to discuss the issue of the league, whether he hates them or not, a meeting was very necessary, to debate on the way forward, reach a consensus as a team and make a valid decision, and by that everyone will say I was given a chance and I was involved in making the decision.”
On what he wants to be done for the league, Shikanda said: “It is very simple, we either resume and play the nine matches or if it is not possible then we must annul the season and start afresh in August.
“We have nine matches to play and anything can happen, it doesn’t mean Gor Mahia will win it, even us AFC Leopards can win it.
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“We are 13 points behind Gor Mahia and it does not mean we cannot reach them, we can simply overtake them and win the title.
“As AFC Leopards we are firmly in the race for the title and we know we can still win it, so either we play league to the end or declare it null and void.”
At the time the league was suspended, Gor Mahia were at the top of the 17-team table with 54 points, seven more than second-placed Kakamega Homeboyz, who have a game in hand.