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Basketball: Why Lakeside will not honor 2022 KBF Premier League fixtures

Dius Gioche of UoN Terror (left) in action against Sila Awuor of Lakeside.[Washington Onyango,Kisumu]

There is confusion and uncertainty in the Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) Men’s Premier League after Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT) voided the 2021-2022 playoffs match pitting Lakeside and Ulinzi Stars.

Kisumu Lakeside are scheduled to play Zetech Titans in their opening match of the 2022 season but the club said they will not honor the match.

Speaking to the Standard Sports, Lakeside Welfare Director Sila Guya said they have to honor SDT’s court order which forfeited their quarterfinals playoff defeat.

Former player Dennis Opiyo Achiego alias Dikembe had filed a case with the SDT arguing Ulinzi Warriors had been allowed to field an ineligible player Valentine Nyakinda during their playoff clash against Kisumu Lakeside.

According to the KBF rules and regulations, a player can only feature in the playoffs if he/she has played at least three games in the regular league. Nyakinda had not met that threshold but played anyway.

The SDT that is chaired by John Ohaga ruled that the KBF violated the league and competition rules and thus declared the playoffs null and void.

The tribunal also ruled that the results of the match between Ulinzi Warriors and Lakeside be awarded to Lakeside.

Guya said the team is preparing for playoffs and not the 2022 season. He called for the 2022 season to be stopped until the previous season is done with.

“We cannot play because we are preparing for playoffs. The rule of law must be followed and as it stands, KBF is not following any regulations. We cannot play a league fixture when we have a serious matter and order from court,” said Guya.

“The 2022 season should not continue. For the sake of fair play, the federation should solve the matter by following SDT’s directive and arrange a new semifinal’s playoffs.”

In the ruling, Ulinzi will be fined in accordance with league and competition rules while the KBF has been ordered to restart the playoffs from the point where Lakeside unfairly lost to Ulinzi.

KBF Secretary General Ambrose Kisoi said the federation is in consultation with its lawyers as they look to find the way forward.

“Following the tribunal ruling of June 15 that nullified the 2021-playoffs series for the men’s Premier League, we will discuss the matter with our lawyers.”

“In the meantime, all stakeholders are advised that the 2021 league season is not subject of the said case hence will continue as scheduled,” said Kisoi.

Ulinzi Warriors defeated Lakeside 2-1 in the best of three quarterfinals played in Kisumu and Naiorbi.

The result saw Lakeside drop out of the series as the soldier proceeded to the semifinals and then finals where KPA defeated them 3-2 in the best of five series finals to win the championship.