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Not again! Five AFC players could miss KPL opener

By | Updated Fri, February 25th 2011 at 00:00 GMT +3

By Gilbert Wandera

Seven players could sit out of their clubs matches in opening round of the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) this weekend.

The players are being accused of failing to get release letters from JMJ Academy to turn out for their new clubs.

Already, the academy has written to KPL asking them not to allow the players to feature in the league until the matter is resolved.

Troubled AFC Leopards will be most affected as five of their players are on the list.

AFC Leopards player Edwin Baraza reacts to a missed chance in a KPL match last season.[PHOTO: STAFFORD ONDEGO/STANADRD]

They include Samuel Mwangi, Bernard Mangoli, Douglas Okumu, Milimo Milton and Edwin Simiyu Wafula.

Western Stima’s Daniel Onyango has also been sighted as well as James Orundo of Sofapaka.

Sam Muchuha, the Academy’s Secretary General said the seven players must not be allowed to take part in the league until the issue is resolved.

He complained that they have tried to resolve the matter with the respective clubs but in vain.

"We have written to the clubs and even held meetings with them, but they have remained adamant and refused to recognise our claim. We are now asking KPL to take disciplinary action against the players and the clubs that have signed them," he said. Muchuha is also demanding that alternatively, the clubs be made to pay them signing and development fees to recover whatever costs they spent on them.

He asked KPL and Football Kenya Limited to enforce strong punishment on players who do not honour contracts and sign for different clubs without a release letter from their previous employers.

"We have had this situation for long where players sign with us and one day walk out without as much as getting our permission. For this league to be credible we need to enforce such simple rules that govern movement of players," he said.

KPL Chief Executive Officer Jack Oguda confirmed having received the complaint on the seven and were sorting it out with the mentioned clubs.

"We have asked the clubs and JMJ to furnish us with certain documents to help us get to the bottom of the matter.

"For now, we may not allow the players to feature for their clubs until the matter is resolved," he said.

Last season, the Academy rented out 12 players to Leopards who were supposed to go back last season and the latest row has erupted because the five remained at ‘Ingwe’ without JMJ’s permission.