How Gor Mahia lost chance to play Atletico Madrid in Nairobi
Details have emerged of how Kenyan football fans missed out on an opportunity to watch European giants Atletico Madrid play in Nairobi this year.
Oliver Dodd, a representative of La Liga in Kenya, revealed on Tuesday that the reigning Europa League champions instead elected to tour Nigeria where Fernando Torres helped Diego Simeone’s team defeat the Super Eagles 3-2.
Atletico is home to a galaxy of football stars including Frenchmen Antoine Griezman and Thomas Lemar, Felipe Luis, Diego Costa, and Slovakian keeper Jan Oblak.
Dodd also opened up on the possibility of Kenyan clubs or select teams touring Spain and competing in friendlies against local sides as was the case when a KPL All-Star team played Seville ‘B’ and Cordoba CF in Spain last year.
“It (the fixture) would maybe have been Atletico Madrid against Gor Mahia. But we failed to find a venue,” said Dodd.
“When representatives from Spain came over to assess Kenya’s preparedness, we toured Kasarani and the venue was still under renovations. The stakeholders couldn’t give guarantees on when the works will finish. That was about the same time when Barcelona played Mamelodi Sundowns in South Africa,” he added.
Kenya Premier League’s logistics officer Frank Okoth described the development as a ‘shame’.
‘OPPORTUNITIES TO DEVELOP’
He said: “We are always keen to offer such opportunities for our players to develop and so it was annoying this match (involving Atletico Madrid ) didn’t take place as Kenyan fans would have been happy.
“We are short of venues for league matches as Meru (Kinoru) stadium has been closed for renovations forever. I am informed Nyayo (stadium) will only be opened for Jamhuri Day celebrations and then closed again,” said Okoth
Dodd also shared a blueprint aimed at transforming Spain’s top flight league as the second most popular in the country, after the Kenyan Premier League.
It includes an existing partnership with the KPL for quality production of local matches, plans to open up an academy in East Africa, and offering seminars to discourage match-fixing.