In December 2013, Arthur woke up in his house in Buruburu and was surprised to find the house swept clean. His flat screen TV, kitchenware, clothes, two phones, KPL medals and other electronic items valued at Sh250,000 were missing.

?I went to bed at around 11pm and slept soundly through the night. I woke up this morning to find my house empty. They took everything,? the Ugandan player told the media at the time. ?It is miraculous I survived. I wish to thank my friends, fans and my club for their support,? he added.

Victor Wanyama

According to former Harambee Stars head coach Jacob ?Ghost? Mulee, cases of KPL footballers being targeted by gangs is common.

?When you are in sports playing for a top club, you become a star. Such status come with a massive following, but not everyone is interested in your welfare. There are those who only see our top footballers as potential targets.?

Ken Oliech, a brother to Kenyan international Dennis Oliech, says insecurity is a major concern for most local footballers playing abroad. As such, a number of players based overseas hardly walk unaccompanied. Many he says,? prefer moving with a crowd of hangers-on for safety. Others have been known to hire bodyguards whenever they are in the country.

?At times you become a target simply because your brother is plying his trade in Europe. But how we relate with these people makes a big difference. Those who were born and bred in the slums have little to fear, since some of the criminal elements could be your childhood friends. That however does not entirely guarantee your safety,? Ken said.

Ken narrated two incidents in Woodley and another in Dagoretti where thugs robbed him of money and personal belongings.

?In one instance, the thugs later called me and apologised saying they did not know it was me. One even offered to return what they took from me saying the Oliech family has done a lot for the children in the slums,? Ken said.

Players who have been called to join the national team have also been targeted. These players earn Sh5,000 a day in allowances when they are in training camp, which can last for as long as two weeks or more. They therefore become prime preys for thugs.

A national team footballer who spoke on condition of anonymity blamed some of the robberies on local football administrators.

?Clubs and the federation have been known to drag their feet when it comes to payment. When they finally make the lump sum payment of players? arrears, they often invite the media to witness clearance of outstanding money owed to players. The payment is made in cash and broadcast to the whole world. Everybody then knows the players have money and sometimes even the exact amount. This is very risky for us,? said the source.

Footballers from upcountry are even easier prey. Former Gor Mahia defender Francis Akang?o described his most traumatising experience in the hands of robbers.

?I was on my way to the camp in the evening when I was mugged at a bus stop. I got a cut on the eye lid. The club never came to my assistance. In fact I was advised to go back home and had to foot my medical expenses bill,? he claimed.

Robbing soccer stars is not just a Kenyan thing. In November 2014, Kenyan footballer Victor Wanyama?s home was ?cleaned out? while he was playing for Southampton at Aston Villa. The 23-year-old midfielder was in Birmingham at the time playing for his club. A Range Rover Sport, said to be worth ?60,000, (Sh8 million) was stolen together with three television sets, electronics, designer clothing and jewellery.

The Harambee Stars captain discovered the burglary when he returned to his home in Winchester, Hants, in what Hampshire.

By John Lawrence, The Standard

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