Kenyan Football Struggles in Financial Crisis

10 October 2019

Nairobi — The Kenyan Premier League has not paid its referees since the season began and the situation looks to head down south with no white smoke over the search of a new sponsor after the exit of betting firm SportPesa.

With no broadcast partner nor any other source of income for the league managers, the daily running of Kenya's top flight league looks shaky but Chief Executive Officer Jack Oguda says they are hopeful of getting a sponsor within the next month.

"At the moment we don't have anything concrete but we have knocked on a few doors and sent out proposals to various prospective sponsors. We are hopeful that we can get something because the situation is not so good at the moment," Oguda told Capital Sport.

Sofapaka boss Elly Kalekwa who heads the league's sponsorship and marketing committee also says they are hopeful something will come up even as they continue to scrape through to ensure the league continues running smoothly.

"We will keep searching and see what comes out of it," he stated.

The financial drought affecting the top tier is just but a reflection of what is happening around the 18 clubs, with very few currently able to keep their daily programs running.

Corporate clubs are among the few clubs whose financial situations are okay. They include KCB, Tusker FC, Ulinzi Stars, Bandari and Wazito FC who are bankrolled by businessman Ricardo Badoer.

For most of the other teams, including the country's two most successful clubs, Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards, the situation is dire.

Gor and AFC have already stretched the begging bowls out on the streets hoping that well wishers will come to their aid to enable them run their clubs with no sponsors in sight.

Sony Sugar last weekend gave a walkover after failing to turn up for their game at home against AFC Leopards after their sponsors Quantdragon disappeared on them, while their parent sponsors are also facing tough financial times.

Many clubs also owe players salaries in arrears of up to four months as the financial crisis in the country's football circles continued to bite.

"It was a bit better when SuperSport was there because we had grants of almost half a million every month and that would help us settle a few things here and there. Right now there is nothing and even the small we got from SportPesa is no longer available," Sony Sugar chairman Gabriel Otiende stated.

And it is worse in the second tier National Super League with their broadcast partners Bamba Sports having halted their partnership and with most of the teams being self-sponsored, times are indeed dire.

"These are difficult times for Kenyan football because of the number of sponsors we have lost over the last month.The economy is also not doing good but we are hoping the government can step in and offer some support," Football Kenya Federation boss Nick Mwendwa says.

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