Coronavirus: Juma reveals puzzles KPL & FKF must solve should league end prematurely

With all football activities suspended in the meantime due to Covid-19, questions have been asked on how the eventual season winner will be decided

AFC Leopards football operations manager Tom Juma has rejected the thought of awarding Gor Mahia the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) trophy should the league end prematurely.

There have been suggestions, following intense public debate, that Gor Mahia should just retain the title if the league could not resume due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Some have suggested the current league standings is the best solution to the question of who should be awarded the title should the season be annulled, something which Juma does not entertain at all.

“That is the biggest puzzle [how to pick the season winner],” Juma told Goal.

“We have teams that must be relegated and those, who have worked hard throughout the season, to be promoted. 

“We also have teams fighting to win the league and all these, combined, puts the management into an intricate position, where they must deliver a judgement at the end.

“I pray that everyone should be given a fair chance to fight for what he believes he can and what he had targeted to achieve in the end.

“Kakamega Homeboyz and Tusker are chasing the title and if Gor Mahia will be handed the trophy they will, naturally, be aggrieved.”

Hopeful Juma has advised for patience, though, and if the league can not resume, he thinks the best way to settle this campaign is to start afresh.

“The best thing I can stress is we must be patient for sometimes and maybe in the next few months, we can resume and end the league in the most natural manner,” added the former Kenyan midfielder.

“If we will be forced to do that [awarding and relegating teams] it means we will have to start the league afresh, and in that situation, I think we are not prepared. As at now, we have no time frame when the next season will begin.”

The Ingwe official also touched on the promotion/relegation debate that Football Kenya Federation (FKF) must deal with.

“Before the coronavirus-related league suspension, Nairobi City Stars and Bidco United had worked hard to earn slots in KPL and it will be very unfair to deny them a chance,” explained Juma.

“If the league is cancelled it means they will have to start afresh and all resources they have used will just go to waste.

“On the other hand, the teams who should be relegated will be in the league unfairly.”

Juma, however, pointed out a few ways the whole issue can be solved without much drama.

“My prayer is that we first manage the coronavirus issue and, thereafter, solve these questions in the fairest manner,” he concluded.

“We can squeeze the league calendar and play the remaining matches instead of going to the extreme and making decisions which will be very unfair to other parties.”

The KPL was suspended just before matchday 24, with Gor Mahia leading Homeboyz by seven points and Tusker by eight, although the reigning champions have played one game more than the chasing pack.