Tore Bobe fans turned jubilation to outrage at Ulinzi Complex, holding Shabana players captive after the match in an unexpected turn of events.
Shabana FC fans, renowned for their unwavering loyalty and passionate support, embarked on yet another epic journey, heading to the Ulinzi Sports Complex in Nairobi on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
Their destination: a highly anticipated Football Kenya Federation Premier League match against Ulinzi Stars, where fans converged from all corners of the city, their palpable enthusiasm and soaring spirits setting the stage for an electric atmosphere.
Over 30 buses filled with passionate Tore Bobe supporters painted a vivid picture of their dedication. But little did they know that this spirited journey would end in heartbreak.
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Lang'ata Road leading to Wilson Airport, typically bustling with activity, was temporarily transformed into a sea of red and white as the Shabana faithful blocked access, determined to reach the stadium and witness what they hoped would be their team's second win of the season.
Traffic police, valiantly attempting to maintain order, found themselves struggling to control the surging tide of fans.
Some fans opted for motorbikes, skillfully navigating the opposite side of the road, blaring the anthems of Tore Bobe, while others danced to the rhythm of their beloved team's chant.
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Unfortunately for those with flights scheduled at Wilson Airport, the festivities led to unavoidable delays, as the joyous Shabana caravan rolled on.
Flags waved proudly, and supporters adorned the iconic red and white colors of Shabana, emblematic symbols of their dedication to the team that made its triumphant return to the top-flight league this season after a 17-year hiatus.
As fans approached the Ulinzi Sports Complex, the sight of Military Police guarding the gates was a stark reminder of past incidents. Shabana fans had stormed the stadium earlier in the season to celebrate a goal, prompting enhanced security measures.
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The tension in the air was palpable as fans arrived just minutes before kickoff, subjected to thorough checks by the vigilant security personnel.
The match began with Shabana dominating the early proceedings, filling the stadium with optimism. However, the collective hope of the Tore Bobe faithful was quickly extinguished by two rapid goals from Boventure Muchika and Mark Bikokwa, leaving fans in shock.
The camera panned over faces in the stands, some with hands on their cheeks, others with tears streaming down at halftime. The stadium's washrooms saw a sudden surge in activity as fans sought relief from the mounting tension, still holding onto the belief that their team could make a comeback.
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Regrettably, their hopes were dashed when, in the 51st minute, Enosh Ochieng netted a third goal for Ulinzi Stars.
This was the breaking point for many, and in droves, fans began streaming out of the stadium, marking the half-hour mark as a painful turning point in their journey.
With just 15 minutes remaining in the match, the once-packed stadium had become a shadow of its former self, as disheartened fans exited with despair etched across their faces.
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Some, in their native Kisii language, called for the coach's head, chanting, "Okoth ekasima agende," which loosely translates to "Sammy Okoth must go."
In an unexpected twist, the coach himself resigned during the post-match interview, following the 4-0 drubbing that sent shockwaves through the football community nationwide.
“We have been playing well but we have never been defeated as such. I am proud of whatever I have done ever since I got into this team. I think they also know what I have done, getting promoted. I leave feeling proud that they gave me the opportunity and I have done all that was right for the team,” he stated before stepping down.
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However, the tumultuous crowd of fans did not lend an ear to his words. They blocked access to the changing rooms, necessitating military intervention to ensure the players could safely reach their destination.
Inside, some fans who managed to sneak in vented their frustration, while others hurled insults at the players for their lackluster performance.
Stewards and police officers worked tirelessly to provide protection, resulting in the players being held up for almost three hours as fans waited outside, demanding an explanation for the dismal showing.
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Eventually, the fans dispersed, and the players were discreetly whisked away to avoid any potential backlash, leaving behind a disappointed and disheartened fan base.
In a hushed, somber moment, the coach bid farewell to his players and the fans who had stood by their side through thick and thin.
It was a bittersweet ending to a day that had started as a carnival but had ended in tears, leaving Shabana FC fans pondering the unpredictable rollercoaster of emotions that comes with their unwavering support for their beloved Tore Bobe.
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