To help tackle cash crisis, we should think out of the box

Wednesday March 18 2020

Allow me to start by commending our team for its impressive returns in the Kenyan Premier League this season as we keep pressure on defending champions K’Ogalo.

Saturday's one-all draw at home to Western Stima at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos County means Ingwe is still within chasing pack of the league contenders.

Crucially, that result was achieved amid well-documented challenges as we focus on the league title we last won in 1998.

I'm informed the players and technical bench have not received their salaries and allowances for the past two months. Lack of adequate resources also forced the team to train for two days out of a possible two weeks in the lead up to the game against Stima.

But this squad has continued to fight gallantly despite these setbacks and on match day secured a priceless point in a game the lads could even have won against a bogey side.

Club chairman Dan Shikanda and his management should be lauded for motivating the team, somehow, despite the meagre resources available even as we hope that the situation will soon improve.

AFC Leopards Sports Club has withstood tougher times. This too shall come to pass, as at least, Leopards players have handled the tough situation with decorum and professionalism, not like their colleagues at Gor Mahia where I'm told the team captain and his assistant have fled without a trace.

Speaking of resources, it is about time the club explored other ideas of harnessing income from its fan base, given that most of the top players come from Western Kenya where the club enjoys mass support. Leopards have in the past relied on sponsorships, gate collections, sale of merchandise, and well-wishers to make ends meet.

But now, with the abrupt departure of sponsors SportPesa, the financial situation is dire although not only at Leopards, but throughout the sports industry.

I am for the idea that the management puts up exclusively branded barbershops and salons in estates around the country.These will offer employment to the youth while associating the club's brand with several of its fans and of course, raking in income. I can assure you, this is an idea that will fly outright.

The same could be applicable to entertainment joints and even small businesses such as mobile money stalls. In the meantime, with the club fashioned as a sports club, diversity could be of importance.

How about we come up with a volleyball, rugby and women soccer team? This could help grow the fan base and have more bargaining power when the time comes to get into the negotiation room with sponsors.

Schools including Kakamega High, Musingu High, St Peters Mumias, Chavakali High, Mbale High, Mukumu Boys, Bungoma High, Mukumu Girls, Lugulu Girls have often produced top players.

For many years, girls’ volleyball titles were once a preserve of Lugulu and Mukumu, while Kakamega High and Musingu are still giants of football and rugby where most of their players are now professional personalities. Schools are known to churn out players who play for our national teams.