Kenya’s Nairobi City was on Sunday brought to a standstill when the region’s best supported football side clashed with an English team in a friendly match.
A capacity crowd of over 60,000 spectators watched the encounter as Kenya Premier League champions, Gor Mahia lost 4-3 on post-match penalties against English Championship side Hull City after a barren draw in normal time.
The match between the two sides marked the first time that Kenya’s premier arena, Kasarani Stadium was filled to the brim for a football match since 1997 when Kenya played against Nigeria in a World Cup qualifying encounter that ended in a 1-1 draw.
“This should be a wakeup call to football authorities that high quality matches and affordable ticket price will always draw spectators in record numbers,” Duncan Wasonga told Xinhua.
Fans started filling the stadium since the gates opened at 10 am and by the time the start whistle was blown, the facility was packed to the edge.
It was all song and dance at the central business district (CBD) where Gor Mahia supporters assembled before embarking on the 17km trip to the stadium in a convoy of vehicles.
“Today (Sunday) is one of my greatest days ever. I watched Campbell, Marshal and former Liverpool player Kevin Stewart play live on our own soil. It was such an enjoyable game even though there were no goals in normal time,” another fan, Derrick Omore, remarked.
The roads leading to the stadium experienced traffic jams as vehicle snaked to the venue for the match between the two teams.
Fans arrived on foot, bicycles, motorcycles, cars, buses, vans, lorries and any other available means of transport.
Nigel Adkins, Hull City coach, defined the aura inside the stadium as unbelievable, adding that history was made.
“Sixty thousand people in the stadium and another large number outside. The players made history and they are ambassadors of hope,” the tactician remarked.
Gor Mahia used the fixture as part of their preparations ahead of Wednesday’s CAF Confederations Group D tie against visiting USM Algers of Algeria, to be played in the same venue. Enditem