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African All Stars

Okumu: Belgium’s Mechelen respond after spitting incident towards Kenya defender

14:04 SAST 2022/05/11
Kenya defender Joseph Okumu of KAA Gent and Harambee Stars.
During the game, a fan was recorded spitting toward the Harambee Stars centre-back

Belgian side Mechelen have released a statement after a fan appeared to be spitting in the direction of Kenya international Joseph Okumu during a First Division encounter on Tuesday.

A fan was seen spitting toward the former Chemelil Sugar star, who came on in the 67th minute for Andreas Hanche-Olsen.

"The images of a person spitting in the direction of a player from the visiting team have reached us," the club stated on their Twitter page.

"Let’s be clear, this has no place in our stadium, in any football stadium. We provided the footage to our security team. Appropriate follow-up will be given."

Gent emerged 2-1 winners in a game they played on Mechelen’s turf, with Cameroon’s Michael Ngadeu scoring the opening goal in the 36th minute.

The home side equalized in the 89th minute through Geoffrey Hairemans before Tarik Tissoudali scored the winning goal for Okumu’s side in the fourth minute of added time.

Ghana’s Elisha Owusu, plying his trade with Gent, was yellow-carded in the 90th minute as Adewale Oladoye of Nigeria was not involved.

Another Indomitable Lions star, Samuel Gouet, was involved as a second-half substitute for Mechelen, coming on in the 58th minute for Vinicius Souza.

Okumu, 24, was scouted during secondary school games while he was at Kakamega High, where he was on the same team as his Harambee Stars teammate Eric Ouma in 2014.

From school, he joined Chemelil Sugar, then a Premier League side, before he was signed by Free State Stars of South Africa in 2018.

After leaving Free State Stars, he moved to Real Monarchs in the United States – where he stayed between 2018 and 2019 for them - before a deal with Sweden’s Elfsborg, which was his first European team.

He was signed by Gent in 2021 after impressing with Elfsborg.