Sound partnerships have lifted local basketball, says Otula

Wednesday May 13 2020
nyakundi_pix

Kenya Morans' Robert Nyakundi (centre) beats Eritrea's Andom Areba during their Fiba Afro Basketball Pre-qualifiers match at the Nyayo National Stadium Gymnasium on January 14, 2020. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

By PHILIP ONYANGO

The arrival of sports and entertainment channel MadGoat TV as title sponsors of Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) leagues in a Sh20 million deal has given local basketball a timely boost.

In January, Kenya Morans beat South Sudan in the final match of 2021 Fiba Africa Afro-Basket pre-qualifier tournament played in a round-robin format at Nyayo National Stadium to book a ticket to the qualifiers proper, to be played in Rwanda in November. Kenya Morans also won Zone Five Championships held in Uganda last year.

And KBF chairman Paul Otula believes the future is bright for Kenyan basketball.

While commending Badoer Investment for its kind gesture of sponsoring the local league through MadGoat TV, Otula pointed out that live broadcasting of league games has made basketball more visible not only in Kenya but also abroad.

"I want to say a very big thank you to Ricardo Badoer, owner of Badoer Investments whose timely intervention in the Kenyan game has led to progress both in the quality of the game and also through improvement in the general management of the sport," Otula said.

Otula, who is also the Principal of Sunshine High School in Nairobi, says the quality of the game has improved owing to the live coverage of games which has made talented players in the league more visible.

This visibility, Otula says, has also gave league teams greater bargaining power when negotiating for sponsorship with companies. Men’s league team Thunder was the first beneficiary, signing a sponsorship deal with Badoer Investment through its subsidiary Aidos Kuneen.

The success by Kenyan national teams on the international stage, Otula says, is a direct result of the sponsorship which has made it easier for teams to field full-strength sides because the national federation can afford to fly in foreign-based players for national duty.

"For the first time in many years, we were able to buy air tickets for our foreign-based international players to travel for tournaments. This boosted the morale of the team. This would not have been possible without help from our sponsors.

According to Otula, Badoer Investment played a huge role in funding Kenya’s campaign at the Zone Five Championships in Uganda, where Kenya Morans emerged victors after beating Egypt, Uganda, among other teams.

Kenya Lionesses emerged second in the women’s category of the championship behind Egypt after defying stiff challenge from Uganda and Rwanda.

"I am happy that the sponsors fully funded the national women’s team trip to Dakar in Senegal for the Afro basket Championships and even helped the federation to pay players allowances," Otula said.

The sponsors also came in handy during the Afrobasket pre-qualifier for men in Nairobi where Kenya beat South Sudan to book a ticket for the qualifiers proper set for November in Rwanda.

"The sponsors again came in handy, supporting Kenya in hosting the tournament in the country after a 23-year hiatus. The costs of the tournament were fully covered by the federation, with support from our sponsors,” Otula said.