Chant of ‘tunataka pay bill’ temporarily disrupted SportPesa Kits for Africa function in Nyamasaria, Kisumu County on Thursday, as desperate gamers seeked answers on the on going tussle.
SportPesa’s Assistant Marketing Manager Public Relations, Lola Okulo had to cut her speech shot to explain to the crowd that had turned up to witness the kits hand-over, on the stand-off and why it had been a challenge for most of the gamers who claimed to have been used to place bets everyday, to use the paybill.
The government last week ordered the all the local mobile phone service providers to stop their pay bill operating numbers on 27 betting firms.
The SportPesa Kits for Africa project had landed in Nyanza in a big way, distributing football gear to over 200 teams in parts of Homabay and Kisumu Counties.
The initiative by the global gaming and technology firm launched three years ago, has been a huge success with kits collected from SportPesa partner clubs in Europe being passed on to football-loving communities in Kenya and Tanzania. The kits are mostly donations from SportPesa’s international partners, such as English league sides Everton FC, Southampton FC Hull City FC.
Men and ladies teams benefited and were elated as they received jerseys to aid with their football training and games in the area, a first for the locals who expressed their shortcomings and pleaded to be helped so they too could make something from their talents.
“I begin by thanking SportPesa for coming to Seme to gift us with all this. That means that you all recognize the talent that hails from here,” Sports Coordinator for Seme region, Cosmas Okal stated.
Kits for Africa has issued kits to over 400 teams in over the last one month in areas such as Kimende, Ruiru, Maai Mahiu, Meru, Embakasi, Nairobi West, Kibera, Kawangware and Kariobangi. The initiative targets over 200 more teams during their Nyanza trip which started on Wednesday.
“Many young players here have no shoes to play with, lack of proper pitches and an issue with coaches lacking the proper training which is really affecting football growth in this nation. We would like to plead with SportPesa and other sports investors to continue supporting sports so we can ensure that our future generations are catered for and have the proper channels and facilities to make a career out of it,” Okal added.
SportPesa has shown immerse support for football in the country over the years and has actively supported other sports like rally racing and boxing.
“We know that our involvement can have an extremely positive influence on all concerned. While we offer valuable financial support, we also go much further: helping clubs build capacity and join corporate social responsibility initiatives to create value for players, teams, communities and businesses, “said Lola Okulo, PR Manager at SportPesa during the handover in Seme.
The SportPesa team will be in Homabay today for kits distribution to more football teams in the region.