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Referee killed on duty

Updated Monday, August 31st 2009 at 00:00 GMT +3

By Gilbert Wandera

Hooliganism reared its ugly head in local football once again on Saturday this time with devastating effect.

An assistant referee was killed with other match officials injured.

Dan Etolle died at the Thika District Hospital from injuries inflicted on him by irate fans, who were unhappy after their team had conceded a second goal.

The irony of Etolle’s untimely death is that it came during a tournament sponsored by Christian Church International at Thika Technical grounds. The occasion was the final match pitting Thika Youth against Kiandutu Youth.

Thika took an early lead and were ahead in the first half, but on scoring the second goal, Kiandutu Youth fans protested that it was scored from an offside position and they did not just protest verbally.

Benilbe Ngare, who was the second assistant referee, said the fans stabbed his colleague several times and he died while undergoing treatment.

He said: "When the fans started attacking Etolle, the centre referee Arthur Gazo tried to assist him but they only turned on him and myself after which we took off. They stabbed him (Etolle) with a sharp object three times and was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital."

Few years

He added: "The fans can only have been from the Kiandutu Youth because they were losing the match and protested that the goal was scored from an off-side position."

Ngare who is also the secretary of the Kenya Football Referees Association said he was traumatised by the incident and still can’t believe that it happened.

"It is very sad that I went to officiate a match with a colleague and didn’t get to leave with them."

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