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Registering over 100,000 fans a game changer

Monday September 16 2019

AFC Leopards fans cheer the team on during their SportPesa Premier League match against Tusker at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on March 9, 2019. Leopards won 2-1. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT |

AFC Leopards fans cheer the team on during their SportPesa Premier League match against Tusker at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on March 9, 2019. Leopards won 2-1. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT |  

JOHN ASHIHUNDU
By JOHN ASHIHUNDU
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I appeal to AFC Leopards followers to come through at this hour of need and support the club.

The situation is dire after sponsors SportPesa pulled out owing to their well-documented legal challenges.

The club is struggling to survive, and several bills including players’ salaries have not been paid for the past two months.

Just like our arch rivals, K’Ogalo,Ingwe is facing a serious financial crisis and I call upon our fans, well-wishers and stakeholders to come on board and support the team to raise as much money as possible.

The recently launched *417# number for fans to key in on their cellular phones and send their contribution was a noble idea, but we still need to introduce other fundraising events like street art events which have become very popular all over the world.

The Leopards’ special number offers several services, at a fee, including daily and monthly registration from as low as Sh10, purchase of merchandise, and match day tickets.

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Raffles and live music by celebrities can also attract crowds, but again we need smart organisers to make the fundraiser stand out.

During the launch at Charter Hall in Nairobi, Ingwe boss Dan Shikanda explained the service will herald a massive registration process targeting 100,000 active members from all over the world, bringing in Sh100 million each year. The initiative can have a big effect if everyone can contribute.

SportPesa had been giving Ingwe Sh52 million annually, an amount that is nowhere near enough considering our annual budget is Sh100 million. According to Shikanda, Leopards are there own sponsors.

According to a former club official, George Aladwa who is also the Member of Parliament for Makadara, majority of Leopards income during his time at the club was from gate collections, but some of his colleagues would attempt to eat that money.

But now, with the new innovation, it will be easier to know how much money has been collected, when it has been collected and even who has contributed.

I plead with supporters to embrace this innovation to keep our players focused as they target to finish in a better position than the 11th place the stood on the 18-team Kenyan Premier League standing at the end of last season. I need not gainsay that as long as player are well paid and on time, they will perform to their utmost.

Fans need to start attending our matches in large numbers to cheer on our team, as they continue contributing via the number.

That aside, at 55 years down the line, Ingwe should secure alternative means of generating revenue in a sustainable way than continue depending on betting companies and other commercial firms that can and will pull the plug at a moment’s notice.

Ingwe should be evaluating the suitability of associating their brand with organisations that have real money.

In the 1980s, Ingwe officials ensured that the club ran smoothly with all expenses catered for.

It is a high time Ingwe regained their lost glory when they used to beat all other teams in the country including our loudly noisy shemejis, and the region at will; the days when the mention of

Leopards sent opposing teams scampering in fear; the days when fans packed the stadium to the rafter to watch matches and the whole country knew Ingwe were around.

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