By Liz Ireri
Zoo Kericho FC Football Club was founded by lawyer Ken Ochieng. The club first participated in the Kenya Premier League in 2017, the highest level of the Kenyan football league system. Mr Ochieng, who holds a bachelor’s degree in law (LLB) from Moi University, runs his own law firm known as Ochieng’ K and Associates.
WoK brings you everything you need to know about Zoo Kericho FC.
History of Zoo Kericho FC
Zoo Kericho FC was founded in 2009. It has grown from a village football local team to a formidable club that participates in Kenyan Premier league (KPL) recognized by the world football governing body FIFA. The club failed twice to earn promotion to the top tier league on technical grounds. In 2014, the league awarded points to Shabana FC who, as a result, finished ahead of the Kericho based club in the league table. In 2015, due to changes in the league structure no teams were relegated from the top tier KPL. In 2017, the club was promoted to the KPL following an expansion of the top tier league to accommodate 18 teams.
The current coach of the team is Herman Iswekwa. The team scouts its players from the local secondary schools and teams from the locality.
Challenges Facing Zoo-kericho FC
Zoo FC hit headwinds when it was found guilty of match fixing by FIFA resulting in the club being relegated. This means the team will now play in the third tier from the 2021/22 season. This means the team will now play in the third tier from the 2021/22 season.
In a letter to the club through the Football Kenya Federation (FKF), signed by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee Chairman Alejandro, the Kericho-based side was expelled from KPL.
“The FIFA Disciplinary Committee finds the club Zoo FC responsible for activities related to manipulation of football matches and competitions,” part of the FIFA ruling read.
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“The club Zoo FC is hereby expelled from the Kenyan Premier League Season 2020/2021 as of the date of notification of the present decision. The FIFA Disciplinary Committee hereby orders the relegation of the first team of the club Zoo FC to the FKF Division One for the next season”, read the letter.
The club was given a 30 day notice by FIFA Disciplinary Committee to contact FIFA for the notification of this decision and come up with an implementation plan to act as an educational directive designed to curb and combat the manipulation of football matches and competitions in future.
The Federation has also acted by writing to the club, informing them of the decision to expel them in order to avoid sanctions from FIFA.
“We wish to inform you that we are in receipt of correspondence from FIFA dated May 4, 2021, with regard to a FIFA disciplinary Committee ruling against your club on grounds of manipulation of football matches and competition,” FKF stated .
“Regrettably, in view of the aforementioned decision and in accordance with FKF’s obligation to FIFA statutes, the federation has expelled your club from the 2020/2021 FKF Premier League season and relegated Zoo FC to the FKF Division One League for the season 2021/2022” , the club was notified.
The club chairman Ken Ochieng has remained mum over the woes facing Zoo FC.
The coach termed the decision as “unfair and political”, adding that the team will go back to KPL next season.