Leopards are facing dire financial straits

Monday October 2 2017

AFC Leopards' Vincent Oburu (centre) is closely marked by Sofapaka's Rodgers Aloro and Jonathan Mugabi during their SportPesa Premier League tie at Narok County Stadium on October 1, 2017. PHOTO | VINCENT OPIYO |

AFC Leopards' Vincent Oburu (centre) is closely marked by Sofapaka's Rodgers Aloro and Jonathan Mugabi during their SportPesa Premier League tie at Narok County Stadium on October 1, 2017. PHOTO | VINCENT OPIYO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By JOHN ASHIHUNDU
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AFC Leopards have admitted that they are going bankrupt and unless fans and well-wishers come to their aid, operations of the 13-time league champions may ground to a halt.

As the office is still looking for ways to sort out the problem, I wish to send a passionate appeal to all Ingwe adherents to come forward and contribute towards helping the offset some of the most pressing bills.

Yes, I know Leopards secured a Sh45 million sponsorship from betting firm SportPesa in 2016 which was later increased to Sh47, but they are only entitled to Sh38 million this season after Sh9 million was deducted to clear a debt borrowed last year.

The club says the current sponsorship does not meet all the club’s financial needs, forcing stake holders to deep into their pocket to boost their kitty.

The money earned from the sponsors is not enough to clear players’ salaries

According to the club CEO, Ronald Namai, for Ingwe to run its activities effectively, they need Sh100 million annually.

Namai said Ingwe needed Sh7 million every month to run effectively, but they currently have a shortfall.

It is increasingly becoming difficult for the club management to pay player allowances, transport, office rent.

Our beloved team has been struggling to get money to settle outstanding debts even after launching an Mpesa pay bill numbers that, truth be told, helped very little.

Leopards woes started when Mumias Sugar abruptly ended its sponsorship in 2013.

Ingwe is registered under the society’s act and hugely depended on well-wishers and gate collections for many years before securing the Mumias sponsorship.

Currently, Ingwe spends Sh3.8 million monthly on players’ salaries with the highest earning Sh130,000; while most of the players at the Den are paid between Sh60,000 and Sh70,000.

Only three youngsters recruited from the academy are earning Sh20,000 each.

Two of the foreign players are said to be taking home hefty salaries, at a time the club is seeking avenues to increase revenues.

Added to that players are yet to be paid winning bonuses accrued from several league matches this season.

Compounding Ingwe’s problems is the drastic fall in attendance for the home matches.

Ingwe used to make huge amounts of money through gate money with most of the tickets sold well in advance unlike today when the club can hardly collect Sh200,000 during home matches.

Now there also the fear of losing out on the SportPesa sponsorship.

SportPesa did warn they would withdraw there sports sponsorship if the government did not reverse a law passed that they felt heavily taxed them. Ingwe have also struggled to tame illegal sale of the club merchandise which is opening another avenue for losses to the team.

Leopards too went through trying financial times last year forcing seven players to issue a notice to terminate their contacts over non-payment of salaries.

The players who asked their contacts with the club to be terminated were Jacob Keli, Bernard Mang’oli, Edward Seda, Emmanuel Ngama, Joel Bataro, Wycliffe Kasaya and Abdalla Juma.

With the financial troubles persisting, Ingwe might find it difficult retaining their top players at the end of this season.

As Ingwe grapple with financial problems their coach Robert Matano has promised to finish the league in a respectable position and of course win this year’s GOtv on October 20.

And when Matano promises he delivers. I will at least have something to smile about at the end of the season.