A fortnight ago, the “Kariakoo derby” pitting Simba against Yanga ended in a two-all draw in Dar es Salaam. But it is not the result that caught my eye, it is the fan turnout and the gate collection.
An equivalent of Kenya shillings 23 million was collected from the gates during the game.
Now, this amount is about a third of the sponsorship package my beloved Gor Mahia used to get from betting company SportPesa. This is almost the same amount we got from Tuzo when they sponsored us in 2011.
This is the kind of money Gor Mahia would be salivating for today given the financial strains the club is going through since the exit of Sportpesa from the country after issues with the government.
We are faced with a situation where the club cannot meet it's obligations because of lack of income. Players have gone for months without pay and the club is currently in huge debt.
But all this boils down to our poor organisation, pilferage of gate collection and failure to tap into the huge fan base we boast of.
I cannot remember a day when Gor Mahia got more that Sh10 million in gate collection yet we can easily do that if we were organised.
Gor Mahia plays 17 home games a season. If we could collect a minimum of Sh5 million, we would be talking of Sh85 million annually and this is a very conservative figure.
We can blame our fans for not attending matches, but what has the club management done to attract these fans to the stadium.
These fans love Gor Mahia to the hilt, but they need to get value for their money.
The most important thing is to first ensure that there is transparency in how our money as fans is handles.
We have stewards at the gates who have turned the club into a cash cow. They would rather pocket money to allow fans to enter the stadium than sell the tickets.
Then we have those who print fake tickets and sell. All this has been happening for years and the club management is quite aware of this. Probably some are abetting this because they also benefit from this.
At the end of the day, it is the club that loses.
So when we see the “Kariakor derby” raising Sh20 million plus in gate collection, we should not wonder how it happened. It can happen here of we are organised and transparent.
It is upon the club to market our games and give fans a reason to attend the games. I miss the days we would drive all the way to Kisumu, Mombasa and Nakuru to cheer the club.
It is the passion we had for the club and our huge turnout during games that brought sponsors to the club.
It is now upon us to mobilise ourselves and start turning out for games.
I also challenge the club management to take cue or learn from Yanga and Simba and how they manage their gates. We can match what the “Kariakoo derby” collects if we are organised.