Kenya Premier League…finally of Age?

One year short of marking its 10th anniversary since it was formed the highest professional league for the game of football has seen what may be its best season so far.

KPL Logo – courtesy of www.kpl.co.ke



And in 2012….
The 2012 season started with the new office running Football Kenya Federation after years of bickering and court proceedings finally gave way to a compromise agreement. The warring factions of Football Kenya Limited and Kenya Football Federation each contested the elections with other favoured contenders.Sam Nyamweya and his retinue started by stating they would not interfere with the Kenya Premier League, more out of fear of losing out TV rights and sponsorship from SuperSport than any good intentions.
With that KPL CEO Jaco Oguda and Co. set about to look for corporate sponsorship as well as ensuring that clubs in the league maintained a certain level of professionalism. Up until this season, the league had not secured a title corporate sponsor making operations at the KPL offices and wider mandate a challenging task. Interestingly many clubs in the league have managed to attract big money with the likes of AFC Leopards, Gor Mahia, Sofapaka and Thika United among others getting 3-5 year commitments from Kenyan corporate firms. And by a stroke of luck the former big teams who have yet to win the revamped KPL have performed fairly well with both AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia fighting to the last match hoping to be crowned winners. Reigning champs Tusker FC have also an outside chance of picking the silverware again dependent on the top 2 teams faltering.


SuperSport’s influence and other clubs’ rise
With these clubs along with mid-level teams such as Thika United, Sony Sugar, Chemelil Sugar making fairly good performances, the media sponsors SuperSport have ensured that the wider audience not able to attend the games in the various stadia get a snippet of the action – Remember SuperSport have made the biggest investment into the KPL through securing exclusive media rights. The SuperSport honchos signed an initial 3-year contract in 2008, before extending it to 5 years in 2010 to end in 2015.
In its first year of coverage, SuperSport screened 22 games which has risen by 300% to 90 games shown on SuperSport including a channel launched in 2011 specifically targeted to the region, SS9 EA. In addition to this local media personnel have been trained on live coverage, camera, web among other technical aspects of the trade.
Back to the league, in its 9 years since 2003, the Premier League has seen different teams emerge as new kids on the block with Ulinzi FC ( largely associated with Kenya’s Defense Forces) win the title 4 times (from 2003-5 and 2010), Tusker FC 2 times (2007 and 2011), Sony Sugar in 2006 and Sofapaka 2009. This has helped the League get wider appeal with each of these clubs getting its own followers. Still these clubs have not attracted the number of fans that traditional teams have seen for their games but it’s a work in progress.


Sell your Soul
In the 2012 season, finally the League did secure title sponsorship with Tusker, EABL’s flagship brand with a 3-year contract worth KSh. 170 million. Though widely celebrated across the country, its our belief that the KPL officials sold themselves cheap in the rush to obtaining the deal. Our thinking is informed by the fact that there were other suitors willing to associate with the game both in the drink brands and a few telcos whose balance sheets would only spot a slight blip. Again, the KPL officials are still learning the ropes of relating and associating with the corporate types in the country who still view sport as a recreational activity.
Another deal signed in the 2012 season, saw Puma secure the deal for supplying footballs to the clubs in the league. The deal is worth KSh.10 million though no real monetary value is attached to the deal, yet again raising concern of who negotiates these deals for KPL.
By now, those charged with seeking sponsorship and long-term deals for the League should ensure they argue their case and seek better deals for the game. They should also see even if the deals do not fully come with monetary benefits, the KPL secures some form of commitment from corporate firms that will see investment in the game.

Future Prospects
And as the 2012 season comes to a close, there are lots of areas that need to be worked on. These include the following;


Club management vis-a-vis KPL Agenda
Many clubs in the KPL are still run by officials who’s agenda is not entirely in the interest of the club or game.  There are also many charlatans in town seeking to run clubs while they can’t run a household to save their souls. In times to come, KPL should ensure that clubs adhere to a certain code of ethics when it comes to management and financial aspects. It will be in the best interests that a club’s promotion to the top flight comes with a certain sense of responsibility and accountability. Oh by the way, KPL books for the last 3 years should also in the public domain for those in the game to know what and how the League is run.

Security and Discipline
This is still a sticking point in many league games. This is especially the case for the big games among traditional foes. Though KPL puts the liability and responsibility on the clubs, it ought to wield wider influence and consult with security experts on how to manage crowds and game situations. The Disciplinary Committee should also come down heavily on any club or fans who display intolerance and commit repeat offences relating to crowd trouble and harassment of fans. This will make it attractive for the uninitiated fans and also traditional ones who are yet to step back in stadia to make that move. They should also vet security apparatus who’s personnel at times work in cahoots with the fans to either smuggle in illegal stuff or use fake tickets to enter various venues.
The same should be reciprocated by players on the pitch. Many a times we have seen footballers question the decisions made by the referees and some even result to physically abusing the officials. These incidences should become a rarity if KPL thoroughly and regularly trains the centre field officials along with club representatives.

Venues
Talking of venues, though it’s not KPL’s main concern to build infrastructure, they should impress upon local and regional authorities to make invest more in better infrastructure in the stadia, parking lots, training grounds and youth centres. In the upcoming system of county governance, those that seek to engage the youth and related activities will have a lead in attracting viable investments. We have seen many a housing projects come up with golfing estates, but it sure would also help if they had training grounds for football and other outdoor games. The same would be great for youth centres.

Financial and Legal Expertise
Though the KPL has officials who are experts in these fields, they need to engage more hands in both departments for the League to be able to develop strong and stringent mechanisms for clubs and those with the interest of the game to operate. Sponsorship deals secured on the cheap should become last resort not options explored and hastily signed. There also need to be consultations with those in the professions to provide training in sports finance and sports law.

Club Youth system
Famous clubs have made it a priority to invest in their youth development programs. It should be of urgency since many clubs are starting to attract talent from lower rung clubs but the reservoirs are not enough. The system will not only ensure continuity for the clubs but also see former and retiring footballers engaged in their favoured club activities instead of wasting away in destitution, drug abuse and alcoholism. It has worked in developed leagues such as Spain, Germany, Holland and now England. Investing in the club’s youth will also see a better national team from the under 12 all the way to the senior side for Harambee Stars.

And this is looking forward to a better league in 2013 and coming years…and raise a glass to the winners of the 2012 season !

Kenya Premier League 2012 Season comes alive…

For you the Kenyan football fan, the action is back on Kenyan pitches, this time with bigger and better oomph than ever.  Flurry of activity has been going on in the changing rooms as well as the technical benches for most of the teams. This year’s league retains the 16 team set up (though the lower previously known as Nationwide League now named Kenya Division One attracts 2 Zones Western & Eastern each with 16 teams).
New sides promoted include Muhoroni Youth who make a debut while Oserian (Fastac) make a comeback after being on the lower rungs for a few years. Dropping off were the 2 Coastal teams, Bandari and Congo United, which prompted a call by business leaders in Mombasa & Coastal region to rally around bringing back glory to the region’s teams.
Also one club City Stars changed names to Daima Stars after securing sponsorship from Daima Milk. From the transfer market, the following’s the top spendings Clubs & players;

  1. AFC Leopards – KSh. 835,000
  2. Gor Mahia – KSh. 670,000
  3. Ulinzi Stars – KSh. 420,000
  4. Tusker FC – KSh. 260,000
  5. Oserian – KSh.100,000
Most Expensive Players;
  1. Eric Masika  – KSh. 450,000 ( from Gor Mahia to AFC Leopards)
  2. Ivo Mapunda – KSh. 200,000 ( from Bandari to Gor Mahia)
  3. Kevin Amwayi – KSh. 200,000( from Western Stima to Ulinzi Stars)
  4. Wycliffe Ochono – KSh. 200,000 (from Gor Mahia to Ulinzi Stars)
  5. Abbasi Kiwalabye -KSh. 190,000 ( from Chemelil Sugar to AFC Leopards)
  6. Victor Ochieng – KSh. 190,000 ( from Chemelil Sugar to AFC Leopards)
  7. Hugo Nzangu – KSh. 150,000 ( from Sony Sugar to Gor Mahia)
  8. Patrick Kagogo – KSh.100,000 (from Sofapaka to Tusker)
  9. Peter Juma – KSh. 80,000 (from Karuturi Sports to Gor Mahia)
  10. Luke Ochieng – KSh. 75,000 ( from KCB to Tusker)
It shall be interesting to see which club’s spending has been justified and which one was a waste of the monies. Also there has been less buzz around corporate sponsors coming on board as most of those who had penned contracts had done 2-3 years/seasons.
Make a date with your favourite club and for more info check www.kpl.co.ke for more updates. 

Kenyan Football – Of Elections, KPL & Cup of Nations qualifiers

The disconnect in the Kenyan football game has been playing on the scene for the better part of this week. Here are some of our pickings and thoughts about the same;

Elections Finally?

First the Interim Elections Board (IEB) confirmed receiving FIFA’s funds around $ 100,000 with the Kenyan Government also footing the balance with an almost equivalent amount of slightly over $ 100,000 ( cash and in kind from Kenya corporate organisations). This was after the Interim Independent Elections Commission ( IIEC) had forwarded their budget for conducting the long-awaited polls. These must be the most expensive polls conducted by any sports body in the country.
That FIFA asked the Kenyan Government to foot their part of the bill should now mean that FIFA should allow the Government and by extension the Kenyan people to ‘own the game’ more. These polls would have come a long time ago and sorted the Kenyan football game if we had the wherewithal to reprimand corrupt and inept sports officials like the circus we’ve had with FKL and KFF. And it is revealed the interest the game generates not just from officials both legit and those with selfish interests. The corporate world has also been waiting in the wings to come on board and sprinkle the game with some goodies.
KPL Fixtures & Disciplinary Action

It is true that the
2011 Premier League as run by KPL has been an interesting proposition and the evidence from the buzz the games have generated is there for all to see. The teams have also been enjoying favourable and growing fan-bases for their players and on and off pitch antics. The screening of the games too has helped make this one of the best up and coming leagues in the continent.
But a few concerns here for KPL, there has been an inconsistent approach to the making of fixtures.
The most scandalous was the Ulinzi FC games where the team had taken the East African (in Burundi) and World Military Games ( in Brazil) representing the COUNTRY. Instead of moving their games, the KPL docked them 6 points and this was after raising genuine reasons for the same.
Reverse this and take to the disciplinary side, we have seen some teams get of too easy with little or no reprimand even after their fans continue raising security concerns for the teams, referees and general public. Gor Mahia is the biggest culprit here and their fans have been involved in more than one altercation since the season started.
We have a grudge match of the same with AFC Leopards coming up and though both teams officials are assuring fans of their security, what we saw after they drew last weekend doesn’t make one feel too safe after all. Carry bare essentials I would say…
If the KPL officials are to be seen to be above board, such minuscule but significant decisions NEED be taken if we’re to retain order and discipline in our game now and in future.
Kenya v/s Uganda 8th October in Namboole

This is a significant fixture in Kenya’s national team’s assignments and if we shall hope to challenge for continental honours in 2013. But quickly back to KPL, why would you fix major games a week or so to the game?
It is true you are running a league where a select few of the players are picked from for national duty. But it puts our boys at cross-purpose when the game at national and international level is not given the importance it deserves. Many of the players are proud to wear the national colours but not when they know it might not earn them any win or prestige among their peers.
Back the Oct 8 fixture, we have seen a flurry of activity as we try to equal what Ugandan fans showed us last year in the first game for the Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Kenyan politicians and media houses have been asking Kenyans to get their travel bags, fancy red t-shirts to quite literally ‘paint Kampala and Nelson Mandela Stadium red‘.
Where’s the FKL or KFF in all this? Uganda’s football body FUFA managed to lobby politicians and companies to bankroll fans coming to Nairobi last year and most Kenyan fans were stunned at the sheer numbers and the seemingly better co-ordinated fans from our erstwhile neighbours.
We know you’re busy strategising for the upcoming elections and maybe the finances don’t look so good after the postponement of elections 3 times. Maybe you can pull a few strings and endear yourselves to the discerning Kenyan fans and delegates.
But this is another major failure by football officials from Kenya to promote and try to get fans to rally behind their national team. We need a football association that cares NOT about how well their pockets are lined but one which serves to promote our kind of game within and across the borders.
CECAFA is back with us in November, what shall Harambee Stars have to show for it?

‘Richest’ Football Clubs– Top 5 in Kenya Premier League (UPDATED)


Midway through the season we take another look at the Kenyan football clubs and what we could say is their modest worth. This is because most of the clubs have held their books so tightly and secretively and there is such fluidity in the financial situation that the only way we have sourced this information is through media reports and respective club websites (albeit where they provide minimal details) {NB: TV revenues and advertising revenues from SuperSport NOT accounted for, along with bonuses} 1. AFC LEOPARDS – this is unexpected but this is helped in large by the club’s recent media deal with Smart TV which will ensure the club has dedicated media coverage from games to behind the scenes, to archived material through Ingwe TV. This makes it the first club in Kenya to have a dedicated channel comparable to European clubsLink. It has also launched a magazine hoping to attract advertising revenue and engage readers. There is the KShs.15 million deal with Mumias Sugar signed in February as well as the AAR health insurance deal worth KShs.1.5 million. { There is the 60 million 3-year TV deal match-day ticketing and merchandising worth about KShs.2 million} Estimated Worth: KShs.98.5 million 2. GOR MAHIA FC – this is Kenya’s most successful and talked about club. It is also has quite some history though much of the aura around it is both mythical and too hyped. Landing a huge sponsorship worth KShs. 38 million just before the start of the season, the club also has the fastest selling jerseys as well as healthy match-day attendance. On average there are between 5000-10,000 fans attending each game whichever day of the week. {From 2-year sponsorship deal; average attendance of 7500 each paying KShs.100 for 30 games; along with merchandising} Estimated Worth: KShs. 60 million 3. MATHARE UNITEDthis club has been a darling of many corporate firms and had topped our earlier List. This is in sponsorship deals worth about KShs.30 million that the club has attracted from corporate such as Kenya Data Networks (KDN), Real Insurance among others. It also has benefactors through its chairperson Bob Munro who influences not just the club but KPL as well. Estimated Worth: KShs. 52.5 million 4. SOFAPAKA FCthe season had started with much promise and the club looked headed for continental glory and the bounty that comes along with it but this ended last weekend. Having secured sponsorship from Portland Cement, the club has firmly rooted itself atop of the league and also has some following of sorts from its many fans. Estimated Worth: KShs. 36.75 million 5. THIKA UNITEDit is the largest club coming from Central Kenya and has the support of milk processing firm Brookside Milk worth around KShs. 15 million. Couple this with the merchandising and other minor sponsorship deals, the club is surely among the top earners in the country. Estimated Worth: KShs. 30.5 million We shall be reviewing this at the end of the season and see what changes shall be made. By then too the relevant financial bodies and sports marketing and business agencies will have been consulted and more conclusive figures released. The future of the Kenyan football game surely has some positive developments amidst the difficulties in administration.

KPL & Gor Mahia fans: Take control before you lose football fans’ credibility

The weekend saw the start of the 2011-12 Kenya Premier League after a well-deserved break. A look at most the fixtures scheduled for the first 2 days looked more or less like foregone conclusions – except for the Mathare United v/s Sofapaka & AFC Leopards v/sTusker FC fixtures.
Our interest though is in a fixture that most pundits had given to favourite Gor Mahia – who enjoy fanatical following from their fans. It was against newly promoted but without corporate sponsor, (Posta) Rangers.
Come the start of the match and you would have been wrong to think the other way round. By the half-time break, Rangers were 2-0 up and deservedly so. Into the 82nd minute, they crown an unassailable lead and the Gor Mahia fans who were all along taunting the female linesperson start throwing missiles into the pitch. Soon one of the barriers is down & they are running into the pitch.
For the safety of the players, the referee calls off the game and the police are called in and as usually happens when they come in throw tear-gas to disperse the rowdy fans.
Last year, the Gor Mahia fans were among the most flamboyant and loyal fans following their team towns such as Thika, Naivasha and Nakuru. They are among the loudest and most organized of fans for any football team playing in the KPL. But they can also lose their cool and control at the first signs of a loss. Last year they forced other clubs fans all sorts of taunts at times even snatching their tools of trade. During a late match-up between Gor and AFC Leopards, we all remember what happened though more blame would go the Sports Stadia Management Board, security and ticketing arrangements.
Hooligans (because at best that’s what we would describe the game), have been known to cost many leagues across the world their attraction. The English, Italian and Spanish have been some of the more prominent ones and have come up with stringent measures to ensure the rule of the game is observed on the pitch and off it.
Fans in this part of the world had deserted the stadiums but with last year’s lure they came back in small trickles before coming back in bigger droves towards the end of the League. Over the break many clubs have registered official fans clubs and you can find them in social media channels for your favourite club.
But they too must learn the rules of the game and unfortunately the very club(s) they support suffer first. Our suggestion once investigations are finalized( hope hastily), is first dock points (between 5-9) of course losing the game they disrupted, play 2-3 ‘home’ games without fans and also pay a cash penalty. This will ensure club officials are able to manage the fans, isolate and discipline the unruly ones.
KPL also needs to buttress the security arrangements available in the stadiums. From what happened on Saturday, the melee would have had severe casualties and the stadium would once again stare upon another ban from either CAF or FIFA.
Officiating also needs to be raised a notch higher. The charade of referees and linesmen giving contentious decisions will only incense fans who look for the slightest provocation. We have not had the best of officials coming from our country but this can be changed this season.
All in all, why should a whole League be held ransom by a group of fans from a single club?

Football : Shirt Sponsorships-Are Kenyan teams getting their worth?

The off-season has had quite a flurry of activity and the teams have been busy making this and that deal to secure the best interests for their own before the kick-off of the new season by end of February, when the 2011 Kenya Premier League (KPL) season kicks off.
Kicking off? Most teams seem to be kicking themselves instead and have not quite endeared themselves to the Kenyan corporate world. Some of the others who have, have done so for a pittance and not quite exploited their qualities and potential for the deals.

Real Betis Sample Shirtcourtesy of www.footballtops.co.uk

While some may argue that the teams do not warrant shirt sponsorship, there is quite some good that would be done to their financial position if this was secured albeit for  the short term ( short term here being 2-3 years). In a League too that is still learning the commercial bits of the game, clubs such as Mathare United and Sofapaka have led the way in trying to get as much support from corporates as possible. Mathare United alone has secured G4S around $125,000 (KShs. 10 million) and Real Insurance’s $ 62,500( KShs.5 million).
A cursory look at the 16 teams making up the KPL sees that almost 75% of the teams do not have a shirt sponsor from the strictest sense of the trade. For clubs to be assured of better revenues, they badly need to make corporates make these deals. Of course having their own management issues resolved is the first part- something most clubs are yet to do. Famous clubs such as Gor Mahia is yet to secure a shirt sponsor, though much has been in the works in the last 6 months to see this through.
It is also important for the marketing departments in most of the Kenyan corporates to find better channels of getting visibility instead of the usual trades of roadshows, ugly billboards and expensive media ads. Finding this might take time but as is usually the case when one corporate firm does something, others follow suit and copy this.
In European Leagues, shirt sponsorships account for about 2-10% of total revenues for most clubs.This comes after the earliest real commercial sponsorship deal signed in 1976 between Bayern Munich and  Kettering Tyres. It also endears the club fans more to the club and almost positively seek to identify themselves with the brands that sponsor the club.
Even the most famous club Barcelona was forced to rescind a long-held tradition of not having a shirt sponsor ( currently they have the UNICEF logo for which they pay approx $2.4 million per year for charity) to the biggest deal starting in 2011-12 season with the Qatari Foundation worth around $ 204 million ( remember Qatar won the bid to host the 2022 World Cup so you see where they are coming from….).
Back here, it will serve well if the football game gets more of the clubs to invest in commercial interests and seek partnership with corporates to achieve financial stability. Of course it shall not be smooth sailing but the clubs, players, corporate world and the game in general shall all enjoy the success. It would also spread the revenue streams that Kenyan clubs badly need.  Get your worth before the season starts!

Top 10 Shirt Sponsorship Deals:
1. Barcelona:- (approx) $34 Million p.a; 5 yr – Qatari Foundation
2. Bayern Munich:-       $32.096 mill p.a; 3 yr – Deutsche Telekom
3. Manchester United :- $27.2 mill p.a; 4 yr – AON
4. Liverpool :-               $27.2 mill p.a; 4 yr – StanChart Bank
5. Real Madrid :-          $22.848 mill p.a; 3 yr – Bwin
6. Tottenham :-             $17 mill p.a; 2 yr – Autonomy & Investec
7. Chelsea :-                 $13.6 mill p.a.; 5 yr – Samsung
8. AC Milan:-               $13.6 mill p.a.; 5 yr – Emirates
9. Manchester City :-    $10.2 mill p.a; 4 yr – Ethihad Airways
10.Juventus:-                $9.112 mill p.a.; 2 yr -Betchic

AFC Leopards v/s Gor Mahia – Kenya’s Football Derby

Yes, the Kenyan football scene works up some new fever and this time though the timing is slightly different given the fact that each of the team has different battles to fight for. Leopards’ fighting for a favourable finish, while Gor is hoping to cut Ulinzi’s table-topping lead points to a more realistic chance of winning the Kenya Premier League.
Both teams have had mixed fortunes in the run in the League this year with Leopards suffering more even with the earlier promise of a better finish. They also won the 1st leg of this fixture against K’Ogalo. But inconsistent form has led them to a high of 5th position (though currently at 8th place).
Gor on the other hand have a huge following and they shall be counting on the same to match their good form at the Nyayo National Stadium. But given the time in the season, the latter look to be yearning for a better show this time and the games left this one is the most difficult one.
The game shall be played at 1900hrs East African time and shall be screened on SuperSport 9. Tickets are being sold at the selected outlets and Nyayo National Stadium ( why create such a logistical nightmare in the light of the Kenya-Uganda game, can’t tell…).

Predictions : Gor Mahia – AFC Leopards : 3-1
May the best team on the day win !

In other news, 2 Kenyan footballers have been called up by French clubs for trials. It’s our hope they can do a good job and join our erstwhile and often unpredictable Dennis Oliech as we look to increase our Kenyan footballing talent in Europe.

Quick One:
Heartfelt wishes to the families of the fans whose lives were lost or who’s hurt from Saturday’s stampede. We had mentioned the organisational nightmare at Nyayo National Stadium a few weeks ago after the Kenya-Uganda game but no one from the Sports Stadia Management Board or Kenya Football Limited seemed to listen. How do you sell the tickets for such a game in one day and expect the crowd to be orderly?
We also mentioned the risk of a huge crowd and safety measures at the same ground. Sad that we have to wait for tragedy for us to make the necessary arrangements. We shall not apportion blame here but SSMB, FKL , KPL and also the respective club ‘unruly’ fans have a bad taste in their mouths on this one.
For future games;

  • Sell tickets 72 hours to the game and the final ones should be sold at the worst 6 hours to the game. 
  • Ensure the club fans are at the venue early enough and lock all gates an hour to the kick-off ( no preferences here) –  invest in big screens for late comers to view at a designated fan park nearby or around the stadium. 
  • Invest in new technology – why do we have to use people to cut tickets until the last minute before kick-off? Invest in bar-code ticketing and that way the only people you shall need are security people confirming safe entry.
  • Maintenance of the physical structures at the Stadium – for heaven’s sake, how do you have 2-4 gates open when the venue is serviced by over 10 gates? Especially for a game of this magnitude? The excuse of late-comers and the weather doesn’t cut. This is NOT the first derby of its kind and shall surely not be the last.

You have cost the clubs game attending fans and unless the necessary measures are undertaken, come March when we host another international match and who knows what shall happen…

Football Fanaticism…let’s not take it too far

var a2a_config = a2a_config || {};
a2a_config.linkurl = “www.sportskenya.blogspot.com”;

Share

Over the weekend during a local Kenya Premier League game between Gor-KCB ( one which I thought of attending but some family issues made it otherwise) a local fan lost his life . Our heartfelt condolences go to the family and the friends as well as football fans of the famed club.

This not withstanding, the same club has a game tomorrow pitting it with last year’s winners Sofapaka . The week-day games have become great crowd pullers and as such it would be a great way for the city football fans to make their way to the stadium. The game is expected to be a thriller though some fans are throwing their protestations too loud for the others.

Now I win the $10,000 bet – Football fan runs onto Nemanja Vidic 

But a worrying trend is emerging especially with some of the clubs and their fans taking their antics both on and off the field too far. Early this year, some fans harassed others from rival clubs if they had any vuvuzelas saying that they held the ‘rights for these new additions to football fan’. While it serves the club well to have their 12th man to help them win  their games, it does not serve any good to the game taking the passions to other levels.
It doesn’t make one a bigger fan by shouting and harassing the opposing team even before the ball is kicked. So what happens if the teams can’t make it to the pitch thanks to the clashes that fans may have? We all know how harsh the penalties become with teams asked to play without their fans. We can all avoid this if we conducted ourselves with just a bit of decorum even on the stands.
It will also serve the stadia management well, if the necessary security is in place to ensure that the fans do not get a chance to throw whatever burbs they have at each other. It is about time we matured in our fanaticism and not jeopardise
Interestingly how come rugby fans do not end up clashing even with all the alcohol and ‘other incentives’ involved?

Kenyan Football Famous Derby that was

For your local football fan, yesterday was another historic day in recent times for the game. This was in the famous derby between AFC Leopards & Gor Mahia. The streams of fans walking to the stadium at Nyayo in Nairobi West was quite a buzz. We decided to go the typical fan way and avoid the trappings of the media box and go down to the Russian stands.

Here’s our take and learnings for KPL;

a) Ticketing – the queues were a bit too long and chaotic at some point prompting the breaking of one of the gates (Gate 3 or 4 if I’m not wrong). This could have been avoided if the match ticketing firm had distributed the tickets at outlets such as supermarkets and other retail outlets. Though still in its infancy, try printing more season tickets, that way some of the ardent fans would have been sorted and entered early enough. And what was this about VIP Stand only for the place to be packed beyond its seams. Have a clear allotment of the tickets per sitting area and demarcate them as such.

b) Branding – the branding of both team fans’ is still wanting with only t-shirts available. The more enthusiastic Gor fans had a little more with vuvuzelas and some other own paraphenalia did its rounds during the game. No wonder they seemed more organised and louder (guess that proved too much for the players on the pitch, thus losing their focus…)

c) Security – for the umpteenth time, the security lapses at the stadium were horrendous to say the least. From the queueing where some kept jumping the queue until other fans objected, to the pitch where at some point some AFC fans started throwing objects into the field. From where we were, by the 80th minute, there were fans in another world thanks to some ‘illegal smokes‘. Could have sworn to have gotten a ‘kick’ too from all that smoke. Surely you don’t want to know what would have happened if there was some ruckus or fracas post-match exit.

d)Entertainment (or lack thereof) – maybe it’s because it was a week-day match, but that void needs to be filled urgently. Pre-match, mid-match and post-match entertainment was non- existent making the breaks a long bore. If you want to add value to your program, include some interesting skits like this

e)Transport – OK maybe most fans can’t afford but can someone think of getting buses or vans to move the masses to and from a game?

f) Fan-clubs – None of the clubs had their fan-clubs actively selling merchandise on the day. How else do you wish to connect with your fans when you’ve nothing for them to look out for? Same would apply for season and other tickets.

g) Prizes and giveaways– you’ve to entice us to keep coming to the games by giving certain ticket prizes or give-aways.

h) Stadium Management – it might not be the clubs’ fault but the stadium needs to be restricted to matches and sports events ONLY. If someone wants to hire it for something else, please let them make the necessary arrangements for the pitch not to be damaged. The army march-past for these ‘idlers from the Barracks’ can be done elsewhere like the Uhuru Park which is rightly made for them. Sports Stadia Management Board still smarting from the poor performance slumber….???

i)Autographs – Maybe it’s a foreign culture but why didn’t anyone think of capitalising on the appearance of MacDonald Mariga and fellow professional footballer, Dennis Oliech? Coca-Cola took full advantage earlier and appointed Mariga Copa Coca-Cola Goodwill Ambassador. Some of us may never get that close to these guys from the look of things while they are at the peak of their careers!….(chuckle, chuckle….) 


j) Game Quality – Though Gor Mahia showed a slightly superior game and had superior ball possession, there is still room for improvement on the technical and simple ball techniques. Some of the quality was lacking and they need to do better if we are to keep coming for these games. Oh and AFC turned the tables by scoring a late winner to secure the 3-points.

From this, why can’t Kenya Premier League also think of having games on a Friday evening and maybe let some of us go for a game before over-indulging as the weekend starts? The ticket sales from the Wednesday game give credence to this. We can’t wait for the return leg of these two teams and other interesting fixtures if the Kenyan game is to sustain itself. Kazi kwako Mr. Elly Kalekwa!

Kenyan Football – Midweek Fixtures excite Nairobi crowds

Seeing as it is, the European and major leagues across the world may have come to an end or mid-season break but not yet for our Kenyan game. The Kenya Premier League games have become quite the talk of town and this the case with the mid-week fixtures.

Today sees one of the what is traditionally Kenya’s  biggest games with traditional arch-rivals AFC Leopards pitted against Gor Mahia fondly referred to by its fans as ‘K’Ogelo‘! The publicity these games have created is bound to give this game added flavour. What is more interesting is the fact that none of the teams is in the top 3 but Gor’s two places down at 5th place and the point difference is one point with ‘Ingwe‘ placed 10th in the standings.
You can be sure we shall be in the stadium bringing you the behind-the-scenes action and whatever else might be of interest to our readers. The game starts at 7p.m under the floodlights ( but with a bad pitch given the rains and army marching in readiness for June 1st national day, why can’t they keep their boots at Uhuru Park for Pete’s sake???)
BE THERE !
You can read a history of this Kenyan football rivalry from here or this