Local politics took centre stage at Sudi Stadium in Bungoma when Nzoia Sugar FC hosted AFC Leopards in a Kenyan Premier League match.
In a clear hypocricy of local politicians in the stands, the highly packed Sudi Stadium would not only experience the normal atmosphere of fans cheering their one and only football club from Bungoma County to play in the lucrative Kenyan Premier League but also an abnormal chants of political slogans around the terraces.
In an aparent stage of PR stunt, Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka, who is also eyeing the Bungoma gubernatorial seat which he held between 2013 to 2017 before being sent home by Governor Wycliffe Wangamati, landed in the middle of the Stadium some minutes before kick off on Sunday 12th June, 2022.
Lusaka had announced paying for gate tickets on behalf of all the fans at a reported tune of Ksh60,000, allowing all the fans to enter the gates on a free.
However, the otherwise good gesture from the Senate boss was watered down as his ferried supporters chanted the slogans directed at Governor Wycliffe Wangamati.
The chants didn’t ogre well with Wangamati supporters who also converged in large troupes to chant pro-Wangamati songs that silenced Lusaka’s dance troupes.
This comes at a time when Nzoia Sugar FC, sponsored by the struggling Nzoia Sugar Company, has experienced a frustrating financial crisis throughout the season as politicians stayed away despite being reached for support.
Just two weeks ago, the millers were on the verge of being relegated when they went down 0-1 to fellow relegation rivals, Wazito FC at the same stadium.
During the Wazito match, the terraces were nearly empty thanks to a few fans who always turn up to watch the home boys as politicians kept giving the players a “wide berth”.
The same low traffic was again witnessed when the Millers downed KCB FC to avoid an early relegation.
With the AFC game being Nzoia’s last match of the season and against arch rivals from the same Luhyaland, stakes were high for the home side which had already escaped the axe following their weekend draw against Gor Mahia at Nyayo Stadium.
Nzoia has now finished more comfortable above the relegation zone, meaning the team will stay in the Premier League once more with Coach Saalim Babu achieving his target after the exit of Ibrahim Shikanda last December.
Many fans who watched the drama wished that the politicians use the same energy in all the upcoming games during the next season and not just a few days when they are seeking votes.
“What was witnessed today with politicians mobilising fans should be a normal routine and not just a one-time show off to seek votes,” said a fan identified as Jimmy Wafula, 27.