The Star (Nairobi)

19 November 2012

Kenya: Leopards Advised

Sports Minister Ababu Namwamba has urged football clubs in Kenya to embrace the self sustainability model. The youthful minister regretted that prominent clubs have folded in the past due to lack of proper planning and lack of funds.

" It is disappointing and embarrassing when listening to the tales of (former clubs) Shabana FC, Red Berets, Eldoret KCC. "Clubs should try lay out and implement strategies that will ensure they rely less on patronage and gate collections. The fates that befell this clubs shouldn't happen again"

The Budalangi MP was speaking after presiding over the opening ceremony of the first stakeholders convention of Kenya Premier League side AFC Leopards Sports club at the Bomas of Kenya over the weekend.

The convention dubbed '"Foreal" (Forum for Restructuring Leopards) brought together hundreds of club fans, legends, former coaches, players and other stakeholders.

Amongst the options explored by the convention to "self sustain" the giant club in future included transforming the club into a Holding Limited Company, building a sports stadium and the selling of shares.

At the convention, Foreal presented their Vision 2020 blueprint, stipulating a roadmap towards transforming the structure of the club from the current wrangle prone society.

The blueprint proposes the incorporation of two constituent legal entities thus a cooperative Sacco Ltd Company and a supporters trust for the registered members and anticipated six million supporters respectively to pull together their resources through a private placement.

The two entities will then constitute the corporate shareholding of the parent Holding Company that will own the club. To set the stage for these reforms, the blueprint proposes that a Special General Meeting be held in next month to repeal the current constitution to provide for the new structure.

The blueprint proposes a restructuring period of seven years, which will culminate into the Initial Public Offering (IPO) at the Nairobi Securities Exchange in the year 2020.

One of the key benefits of the new structure, according to the blueprint, will be to enhance the group's income by improving the return from existing assets and by establishing new sources of revenue.

This, it is suggested, will be pegged on the development of a range of football, social and business related initiatives aimed at capitalising on the profile and status of the AFC Leopards brand.

These, it is expected, will include but not limited to the rolling out of a variety of club products like merchandise and programme like a youth academy and coaching programme. The short term objective would be to acquire a parcel of land (20HA) in the outskirts of Nairobi and putting up a training ground and hostels for the team.

The medium term objectives would be to develop further the pitch into a modern 30,000 seater stadium capable of hosting international matches doubling up a business hub hosting various businesses including hospitality outlets and amusement parks.

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