James Magayi @Magayijim
Kenyan giants Gor Mahia are reviewing three sponsorship proposals placed in front of them in the wake of their shirt sponsor SportPesa’s withdrawal.
Two betting firms and another corporate body have put in bids to emblazon their brands on Gor’s shirts ahead of the upcoming season, a move that has triggered a rethink from their departed backers.
Negotiations are, however, on a halt as Gor chairman Ambrose Rachier is away in India on a business trip but insiders believe a deal will be thrashed by end of this month. SportPesa are said to be reconsidering their withdrawal and have called Gor and AFC Leopards back to the negotiation table.
The betting firm locked Kenya’s two most followed football clubs Gor and Leopards into three-year shirt sponsorship deals which were due to end this year but the implementation of a 35 per cent tax on betting firms by the government prompted SportPesa to halt all sports sponsorships in the country.
Both teams were consequently left without sponsors beginning last week. Gor officials remained tight lipped over the details but treasurer Sally Bolo exuded confidence on the club’s ability to fund its programmes.
“Our pre-season is well on course and everything will run smoothly with or without sponsors,” Bolo told People Sport yesterday. K’Ogalo, who won the Kenyan Premier League title last season, are due to commence an expensive continental assignment and initially, in an apparent solidarity with SportPesa, indicated their inability to fund their CAF Champions League fixtures away from home.
The tune has now changed and the club’s pre-season programme is well underway in high altitude Egerton, Nakuru County. Gor will host Vegetenarios of Equatorial Guinea on February 10 before travelling away for the return leg seven days later. Should K’Ogalo sail through to the group stages of the CAF Champions League, a minimum Sh55 million cash windfall awaits under the revised payment schedule for clubs.
Group winners and runners up pocket Sh10 million more than the third and fourth-placed teams while eventual Champions League winners take home Sh250 million.
Gor have consistently failed to reach the group stages of continental club championships since their golden years in the 80s but coach Dylan Kerr, who has considerable experience in African club football, believes group a stage appearance is possible.