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Club losing revenue to sly traders

Wednesday May 27 2020
By JOHN ASHIHUNDU

All the people selling merchandise bearing AFC Leopards logo should have licences so that the club can benefit from the proceeds.

Over the years, unscrupulous businesspeople have been profiting as the club struggles to pay its players and foot other bills.

Following the Covid-19 outbreak, traders are selling face masks and sanitisers bearing Ingwe’s logo. Leopards is a community club, and I think it is only right for club members to know how the team will benefit from the business especially during this difficult times since SportPesa withdrew their sponsorship in August last year.

A few years ago, a container of AFC Leopards’ replica jerseys were imported into the country by people who are not mandated by the club to sell them.

If indeed the club management is not involved, the selling of the masks and other branded merchandise must stop immediately.

The club should come up with a list guiding members on the shops authorised to sell the merchandise. During the leadership of Julius Ochiel, Ingwe had specific shops that were exclusive outlets across the country for our clubs’ merchandise. Branches monitored them keenly.

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If at all people are doing business behind the management’s back, then the matter should be reported to the Anti-Counterfeit Agency and the DCI.

As we prioritise players’ welfare, we need to exploit possible internal sources of funds considering that our club no longer gets any reasonable revenue from the gate collections, which used to be our primary source of income.

I’m not inciting the club to deny Ingwe followers a chance to sell anything associated with the club logo, but I only want them to follow the right procedure. Let there be specific procedures to be followed, including licensing.

In the future, the club should adopt sustainable business models to enable them become financially self-sufficient. Ingwe should also build and sustain strong brands by adopting innovative marketing strategies, including but not limited to effective merchandising.

How far has our five-year strategic plan gone? The 2013-2018 strategic plan was launched to transform Ingwe into a financially independent institution.

Part of the plan was to purchase 10 acres to build a 30,000-seater stadium in Kitengela, Athi River or Isinya.

Richard Ekhalie, a former chief executive officer of the club, said the sporting complex would also house a gymnasium, guest houses for the team, training grounds and a three-star hotel.

That would have saved the club money. It is important also to register two million fans in five years as planned.

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