ASHIHUNDU: Plans to build club stadium step in right direction - Daily Nation

Plans to build club stadium step in right direction

Monday February 12 2018

Duncan Otieno of AFC Leopards (right) tussles for the ball with Piepre Michael Tavina Rakotorisoa of Fosa Juniors during their Caf Confederation Cup match at the Bukhungu Stadium, Kakamega County on February 11, 2018. PHOTO | ISAAC WALE |

Duncan Otieno of AFC Leopards (right) tussles for the ball with Piepre Michael Tavina Rakotorisoa of Fosa Juniors during their Caf Confederation Cup match at the Bukhungu Stadium, Kakamega County on February 11, 2018. PHOTO | ISAAC WALE |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By JOHN ASHIHUNDU
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The recent initiatives taken by a group of AFC Leopards fans drumming support to build a stadium for the club is laudable and should, in my opinion, be encouraged by various Ingwe followers wherever they are.

It is devastating that at 53 years of age, AFC Leopards just like noisy arch rivals Gor Mahia, 49, lack even ownership of the most basic training facilities leave alone a stadium, and accommodation for players.

It is my opinion that any co-operation aimed at bringing in the financial and administrative know-how, can only be a bonus for the club.

In turn, the management should make most of the opportunity and show good accountability and sincerity in all dealings - a common accusation by investors.

Ingwe supporters led by former club official, Richard Ekhalie came up with the visionary “Den Project” idea last year and more fans have hence joined hands to make the project a success.

The club bus was acquired through this project.

According to Ekhalie, the forum is not partisan but will accord club members a golden opportunity to invest in a 20,000-seater modern stadium for AFC Leopards.

Ingwe is a national club with fanatical support across the country, plus enviable following internationally, but they must know that when it comes to training and games, being in your own stadium brings flexibility.

One of the biggest selling point is that the facility can be used for other events including concerts to raise revenue..

Playing on our own stadium will also allow Ingwe to sell advertisement space. Now, that is moving to the next level.

While sponsorship is always not easy to find, the group has brilliant ideas of trying to look for ways to stop the club from depending on wealthy individuals and politicians for survival.

Leopards has used large amounts of money to host teams at Nyayo and others stadiums in the country, making it almost impossible for the them to operate efficiently.

Shareholders subscription for the Den Project can be obtained through the Home Ground Holdings Ltd. Shareholding is priced at a discounted rate of Sh10,000 each, with provision of instalment payment.

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Many AFC Leopards fans left Bukhungu Stadium so upset and could barely express themselves following a 1-1 draw with FOSA Juniors of Madagascar, Sunday in the Confederation Cup match.

They came in their thousands from all corners, optimistic that Ingwe would win the Confed encounter. Arkoh Prince Papa scored in the fourth minute for the home side who however struggled throughout the match. Juniors equalised late in the second half to earn a precious away goal.

Fans were left venting at their various meeting points and online.

The executive should be encouraged to explore avenues of injecting finance to reduce stress on the players that cost Ingwe the KPL Super Cup, after the squad boycotted training for two days over unpaid dues.

Leopards almost withdrew from the Confederation Cup due to lack of money after their shirt sponsors, SportPesa terminated their contract.

But our players must also be aware that fans cannot afford drama at this point, when the team is playing continental football - football is not just about money.