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 !

Top 5 Kenya’s Football Clubs Social Media Ranking

Over the last week, there was a survey being conducted on Kenya’s listed companies and their use of social media. Along the same lines, we had a discussion with a pal about Kenyan sporting scene and the lack or minimal use of the social media space. While social media has exploded onto the scene in the last 3-5 years, local sports organisations and clubs are yet to realise the potent that this platform has.
A quick survey on online presence, visibility and regular updates and information regarding the clubs’ activities leaves a lot to be desired. Kenyan social media enthusiasts take up your roles and make this year a winning one for Kenyan sport on social media.

Tweep, can we play ball? image courtesy of www.flickr.com

This ranking was done on Facebook and Twitter which are the biggest social media platforms currently. Our non-scientific survey is based on clubs’ official pages, fan pages and ‘likes’ as well as official Twitter handles (or pages) and fans too. Since most clubs do not have an official page and even when they do, there are other duplicated ones, we shall aggregate each of these to the nearest 100th person/like( NB: These was as of 17th February 2012 based on Internet findings);

  1. Gor Mahia – An estimated 59,500 Likes on various Facebook pages. These range from official pages to fan pages to others like ‘Gor Mahia is not a club, its a lifestyle, but do we say?’ Their web-page’s www.gormahia.net – this site aggregates info on the club from other news sites and is quite basic. No links to Facebook or Twitter accounts. There are 3 Twitter pages linked to Gor Mahia @GOR_MAHIA – 108 followers, @Gor_MahiaFC – 99 followers and @Onegreenfamily – 289 followers bringing total to 596 followers
  2. AFC Leopards – An estimated 18,300 Likes on various Facebook pages also has wide range such as ‘ AFC Leopards Facebook Branch’. The club has a website www.afcleopards.net which is quite interactive. The site has a link to the Facebook and Twitter accounts and also has YouTube channel linked to SmartTV which went burst a few weeks ago. The club also has 4 different Twitter handles @afcleopards_SC – 316 followers, @afcleopards – 272 followers, @ingweleopards (fans page) – 628 followers and @AFC_Leopards – 43 followers totalling 1259 followers. 
  3. Sofapaka FC – with an estimated 5,100 Likes on Facebook pages, batoto ba Mungu’s football club is 3rd most visible club on social media. The club’s website www.sofapaka.com is also quite well-done and frequently updated. It also has Twitter page @SOFAPAKA with 98 followers and another unofficial one @Sofapaka_Kenya with 79 followers – 177 in total
  4. Ulinzi Stars FC – is at number 4 of the social media savvy football clubs. It has 2835 Likes on its Facebook page. Its Twitter handle is @UlinziStarsFC with 234 followers. It is without a website despite being one of the biggest clubs in the country and having a wide followership not just in the army ranks but with ordinary football fans.
  5. Mathare United FC – carries the top 5 of the football clubs on social media. It has a modest 2800 Likes on Facebook. The club has a website www.mathareunitedFC.co.ke which needs a bit of sprucing to meet the current season’s set-up and corporate identity. You can also access their details via www.mysakenya.org which is the parent company under which Mathare United FC was borne. Its Twitter handle @MathareunitedFC has 313 followers.

Do you Like what you see? – Image courtesy of www.facebook.com



Take Outs:

A lot of work needs to be done to these among other clubs which are featuring in the Kenyan Premier League. The League is also rapidly engaging with social media enthusiasts and fans alike and revamped its website at www.kpl.co.ke and also has a Twitter handle @KenyaPremierLg with 1,568 followers & 676 Likes on its Facebook page.
  • Constant review and regular updates are a must in social media where as they say, it’s not a monologue but an exchange of ideas between the clubs/management and the fans.
  • Competitive brand offers can be made every so often to increase visibility and have a sense of ownership to the followers and fans alike – e.g. AFC Leopards did engage some of its fans last season online and even managed to book flight tickets to a local game in Mombasa – brand loyalty anyone?
  • Instant feedback on ways to improve the clubs’ fortunes – from suggested playmakers to colours of the team, club management can use social media to have fans engage them instantly.
  • Sponsorships – many a clubs internationally have had sponsors who are willing to look beyond the usual streams of revenue to engage and entice users. Social media platforms can supplement to such campaigns and ensure sponsors have a wider audience and measurable means of showing success rate of the campaigns.
These are but a few points which Kenyan clubs and sports management specialists can learn from. Finally let’s look at the top 5 Football Social Media League as of December 2011;
  1. Barcelona-25,359,311 Facebook fans(27,030,540 Likes); 2,316,765 Twitter followers = 25,676,076 fans
  2. Real Madrid-22,182,985 Facebook fans( 24,876,778 Likes);2,872,018 Twitter followers = 25,055,003 fans
  3. Manchester United-20,269,260 fans (22,598,283 Likes); 102,773 Twitter followers= 20,269,200 fans
  4. Arsenal – 8,155,842 fans (8,989,136 Likes); 1,061,636 Twitter followers = 9,217,478 fans
  5. Chelsea – 7,885,970 fans (8,704,028 Likes); 501,375 Twitter followers = 8,387,345 fans
This shows you the power of social media. It’s free and its waiting for you, just LOG ON & GET GOING! 

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. 

‘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.

Sofapaka – So Close Yet So Far

Batoto ba Mungu loosely translated to children of God has been a nice catchphrase for the Kenyan football club as they have seemingly conquered African clubs in the CAF Confederations Cup.

Sofapaka FCcourtesy of www.sofapaka.com

But just like life, luck runs out even to the luckiest of them. And yesterday, the only surviving Kenyan club team in the continental challenge valiantly fought a battle but lost the war, 4-3 on aggregate. Thus far we salute their efforts.
But going back to the heart of the matter, when shall Kenyan clubs start sharing in the spoils of the continental largesse? The last time Kenyan clubs came close to continental glory was in the 1990s when then Kenya Breweries (now Tusker FC) played in the Finals of the Cup Winners Cup (Mandela Cup) against DC Motema Pembe in 1994 – previously only Gor Mahia had won the Cup in 1987.
Once Kenyan football elections date is confirmed and the winners announced, one of the issues at hand for them to address is the continued absence and how we can end this soon. Our hope is that the very faces and hands that have been ‘managing’ the current rot shall not be anywhere near this new phase in the game. But if FIFA elections are anything to go by, we might be stuck with some of these characters longer than we need. Mr. Minister please stop mincing your words and make good your threats.
As for now, we need to quickly forget this year’s near-success and strive to move our clubs in continental challenge(s) to more respectable positions. Mr. Kalekwa share your experience with the rest of KPL teams and 2011-12 should be a more successful year. Back to the drawing boards, football people!

Sofapaka – Truly Batoto ba Mungu!

Finally Kenyan clubs can start smiling with Sofapaka getting into the next round of the CAF Confederations Cup. This next stage represents the play-off stage before proceeding to the Group stages which shall be again on home-&-away basis .

Image courtesy of www.michezoafrika.com

These teams are divided into 2.Winners of each group meet in a final deciding match and the winner of this proceed to meet the winner of the CAF Champions League in the CAF Super Cup. The beauty of this stage is that there is the promise of prize money as follows;
Winner of CAF Confed Cup : $ 625,000 for the club and $35,000 for the national association; Runner-up (Losing Finalist):$ 432,000 for club and $30,000 for national association;
2nd placed team in each group: $ 239,000 and $25,000 respectively;
3rd-placed team : $ 239,000 and $ 20,000;
4th-placed team: $150,000 and $15,000.
(Source: Wikipedia.com)

This is a welcome gesture to the teams and especially so for Sofapaka whose chairman Elly Kalekwa has been quite vocal and hoping to make good of the lucky run. We wish the team well and hope they keep their fortunes in the continental challenge together. It is also welcome relief for Francis Kimanzi who’s Kenya Premier League losing streak had Sofapaka diehards starting to question his tactics.

KPL 2010-11 season has started and came in fast. For some of the clubs, it is a great start and others have been laying the necessary groundwork for their season onslaught. Besides recruiting and changing their technical management, some clubs have also sought to boost their financials in a bid to attract the best of talent. We take a look at some of the clubs that maybe regarded as ‘rich’ – and we use this term in loosely since their financials are shrouded in secrecy, and most have not accounted for their match-day revenues and ticketing revenues. Others are also not clear on their sponsorship packages. Here are the estimates;
Mathare United FC – having started out as an outreach programme for youth in the Nairobi slum of Mathare, they have become a regular feature in the Kenya Premier League since moving up 6 years ago. They have also produced some of the best Kenyan footballing talent represented by their best example so far, Dennis Oliech. Under the leadership of Mr. Bob Munro (one among the brains behind the Kenya Premier League and heavily influences football agenda in the country), the club has managed to lure corporate sponsorship to the tune of US$ 437,500 (approx. KShs. 30 million) in the last 2 years. Their other sources of merchandising and ticketing are not clearly outlined but this wouldn’t be more than 10 % of total revenues. Add in the KPL/SuperSport TV airing bonuses and yearly grant of about US$7,000.
(Estimated Total RevenueUS$ 478,500; for 2010-11)
AFC Leopards FC – this is strictly by the sponsorship figure of approx US$187,500 announced early February 2011 from Mumias Sugar. They also got sponsorship from health service provider Africa Air Rescue (AAR) to the tune of US$ 18750. Last season, the club had secured under controversial circumstances some US$ 3750 (about KShs.300,000). The club also has a fairly tidy following but has not been able to translate this to good performances on the pitch much to the chagrin of their faithful. If they do find their winning ways, they are bound to reap big on the ticketing and merchandising. They may also need to resolve their management issues which might affect revenue inflows.
(Estimated Total RevenueUS$ 233,875; for 2010-11)
Thika United – the most popular side from Central Kenya has the support of one of Kenya’s food processing firm’s –  Brookside Limited’s funds to back its operations. Though not fully confirmed, the amount for the past season was approx. US$ 187,500 (and US$ 37,500 had been promised for top 3 finish which never happened). The club had also signed a kit sponsorship with Umbro between 2003-6 but no details of financials passing hands. The club has some followership in the town of origin and records good crowds both at home and away.
(Estimated Total Revenue: US$ 206,250; for 2010-11)
Sofapaka FC – this club made history in the 2008-9, coming through from the lower rung of the Nationwide League and winning the KPL title only its debut season. It has been able to become a feature in the last 2 seasons, thanks in part to their eccentric Elly Kalekwa – who’s also Chair of the KPL. They secured 3-year sponsorship from EA Portland Cement worth approx. US$ 150,000. They won the 2009 title securing US $ 19,000 in the process. They also won the SuperSport/DSTV Super Cup –the season’s curtain-raiser earning US$ 9375. Add another measly US$ 1250 for winning the Kenya Cup (Kenya’s equivalent of the FA Cup) and TV rights and merchandising as well as matchday revenues.
(Estimated Total Rev: US$ 197,587.50; for 2010-11) 
Ulinzi Stars – the army outfit is mainly made up of servicemen serving in the Kenyan Army. They have a disciplined side which surprised everyone last season to take top honours. Enjoying financial support mainly from the Kenya Army (in extension through the Defense Ministry – Govt of Kenya), the club winnings make up most of their revenues. Their loss to Zamalek means their earning power at continental championships is all but over. For winning the title, they got US$ 19,000 (KShs. 1.5 million), along with US$ 7000 (approx. KShs.0.6mill) as KPL mandatory pay-out for TV and media rights. They have not attracted any corporate sponsor though.
(Estimated Total Rev: US$ 52,000; for 2010-11)
Other Notable Mentions;
Gor Mahia FC – this is the club with the largest and most passionate (and also once in awhile unruly) fan base. Though unsubstantiated, ‘Sirikal’ as they often refer themselves as are said to have earned US$ 13,482.5(about KShs. 1.0786 million) from merchandising alone last season. They have not managed to secure a corporate sponsor even with an able management team, but there are reports that this may soon change. They also attract good match-day collections across the spectrum for home and away games.
Tusker FC – the club has enjoyed a sweet-sour relationship with the brand it represents Tusker. The mother company of Tusker EABL has been cutting down on sports sponsorship and the club was among those affected. The support though is still there but no figures have been declared. The team has managed respectable positions and last year finished 3rd from the top.
KCB FC – this is another corporate club which has the support of Kenya Commercial Bank through its KCB Sports Sponsorship – the wing which supports sports sponsorship for the firm. It is also not confirmed how much they secure annually though KCB Sports reports over US$ 250,000 ( KShs. 20 million) for the different sports disciplines – basketball, rallying, rugby and volleyball.
Karuturi Sports – the club was previously known as Sher Agencies and is among those that graduated from the Nationwide League in 2002-03. The club is fully owned by Karuturi flowers which is 100% owned by the Indian Karuturi company. No figures are available for scrutiny.
Nairobi City Stars – the club has its base in the outskirts of the city, in another slum Kawangare (which also gives it its previous names, Kawangare Stars and World Hope FC). It has some connection with former Kenyan football hero Musa Otieno, through Musa Otieno Foundation. Last year it had been rumoured to secure corporate sponsorship from Orange Telkom but the deal seems to have fallen off the rails. 
From the figures, there is great potential for clubs which have been performing consistently. If a club such as Gor Mahia can achieve a tidy figure from merchandising, the clubs can exploit this with the right focus and business acumen. It is also to be seen how the TV rights can be enhanced though still tightly controlled by SuperSport/DSTv. The clubs also need to raise their performances at the local, regional and continental level. This will guarantee greater followers from the local and maybe across the borders. Why can’t we have our own SA’s Orlando Pirates, Ghana’s Hearts of Oaks, or DRC’s TP Mazembe

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

Sofapaka qualifies for next round of Confed Cup, but should we celebrate?

Over the weekend, the Kenyan football scene was keenly following one of country’s representatives in continental challenge, Sofapaka ( of course there was the bungled AFC Leopards elections). Having played to a barren draw in the Angolan capital to Aviacao, the team had the home advantage to play with. But it took more than the regular 90 regular play for the team to be able to break the country’s jinxed continental challenge.

Sofapaka Logo – courtesy of www.sofapaka.com

But once the next opponent was confirmed, I think there will be little to celebrate. Ismaily from the Egyptian city of Ismailia. Coincidentally this is the same team they played last year in the CAF Champions League and came undone in the 2nd round losing 2-0 after holding the team to a barren draw in Nairobi.
Our local clubs performance against the North African teams has been dismal to say the least and our current representatives in the CAF Champions League Ulinzi are evidence to the gap we have to close to have any chance of playing in the next round(s) of continental Cups.
If ‘batoto ba Mungu‘ are going to sharpen their attack and hopefully make good their home advantage winning by 2-3 goals without conceding, chances are that they might get close to beating their perennial rivals. That’s when we shall celebrate their win…


In Other News:
What happened to Francis Kimanzi’s appointment as coach of the team? He may be the factor waiting to beat the North Africans. His technical abilities and past experience would come in handy for the team’s continental engagements ( no offence to fashionable Ezekiel Akwana) 

Football Fanaticism…let’s not take it too far

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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?