Community clubs in Kenya, among them AFC Leopards, are struggling. Owing to lack of sponsors they are feeling the pinch and they are depending on well wishers for survival.
The Nyayo National Stadium is an ideal venue for the club to host its home matches because we make more revenue from gate collections.
I know that Ingwe have pending bills with Sports Kenya because the club is yet to pay for chairs that fans destroyed during a “Mashemeji derby” in which the team was humiliated 4-1 by arch-rivals Gor Mahia in November last year.
But Sports Stadia Management Board should be considerate. AFC Leopards have shown willingness to pay for the mess through affordable monthly instalments.
Sports Kenya chairman Fred Muteti should allow Ingwe to use Nyayo as the club works towards offsetting the bill. Muteti has ordered the club to repair the damages that Leopards fans caused at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani before the team is allowed to host their matches at the refurbished Nyayo National Stadium. Muteti wants Leopards to pay the Sh2 million in full!
Our fans also need to be responsible and denounce acts of hooliganism. Ingwe needs to deal with hooliganism once and for all. They are tainting the club’s image and making it difficult to market the club to potential sponsors.
I challenge Ingwe officials to learn from clubs in Europe on how they have been able to deal with the vice. Muteti’s ban is very harsh because we can’t afford the heft fine since the club is struggling financially.
Leopards are now playing the majority of their home matches at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos, but the gate collection is very low. Moving out of Nyayo has disillusioned fans. We appeal to Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed, our daughter from Kakamega’s Amalemba estate to intervene for our team to host matches at our traditional home ground Nyayo since renovation work is complete.
Leopards have suffered enough through constant shifting of matches outside the city. Returning our games to the 30,000-seater Nyayo will significantly improve gate collections.
Holding games at Bukhungu Stadium and Mumias Complex in Kakamega, has attracted large crowds, but increased our expenses.
According Kenyan Premier League records, hosting a low-profile match costs at least Sh100,000 while big games involving K’Ogalo and Ingwe require Sh500,000. To play the mandatory two derbies per season costs at least Sh1 million.
In a season in which clubs have eight matches at home, costs close to Sh1 million, before away matches, domestic and continental assignments are taken into account.
A breakdown of hosting a single game paints a grim financial picture for the struggling clubs.