Kenya’s football giants Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards sighed with relief when a sports betting firm came to their rescue on Thursday with a three-year sponsorship package totalling Sh285 million.
Betsafe handed record Kenyan Premier League champions Gor Mahia Sh55 million per season while Leopards will receive Sh40 million.
It goes without saying that the sponsorship will ease the burden of running the two clubs.
Gor and Leopards have been struggling to make ends meet since another gaming firm, SportPesa, ended their partnership in September last year after halting operations in Kenya.
Even as Betsafe comes in, it should be a big lesson to Kenyan clubs to expand their revenue streams.
The sponsorship may not be enough to pay players’ salaries, their medical cover, playing and training kit, transport and accommodation.
Gor and Leopards have an estimated budget of Sh8 million per month each.
It’s embarrassing that these two clubs that command the largest following in the country are still walking around with begging bowls.
Across the borders, teams like Simba Sports and Yanga from Tanzania, Egypt’s Al Ahly and Orlando Pirates from South Africa have corporates lining up to sponsor them.
Our clubs must intensify their membership drives, work on merchandise sales, secure broadcast rights and explore player trade to make their bank balances balance.