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February 18, 2019

Kenya clubs and players need to help each other

This is such a tough period in life for football fans in our time zone. European Leagues have ended and the Kenyan Premier League is on its mid-term break. Copa America is on but the matches are so late at night that I’m yet to watch a full game from beginning to end. Stress nayo!

This is football famine and even though I do enjoy small breaks in watching football, it’s not right that we are subjected to long breaks of nothingness. At least fans in South America are enjoying the Copa America but I can’t afford being tired every morning. I will however have to sacrifice my sleep when we get to the quarter final stage next week. I want to focus here today on local transfers now that mid-season transfer market is open.

There’s a story that appeared on this week about local transfers and what players should look out for when moving from one club to another. In Europe it’s usually straight-forward; that a player looks for a club that’s ambitious, a club where they’ll get playing time and most importantly more money than where they are now. It’s this last factor that worries me when it comes to local football. It’s not right for someone to do a job and not get paid; but sadly that’s what’s happening to many KPL players as we speak.

Few clubs have adequate sponsorship and situations where players are on a go-slow or refuse to play are quite common in the KPL. This season AFC Leopards, while not the only club going through financial difficulties, has been the worst hit. Recently players completely refused to honour a fixture because of delayed payment and a much depleted team ended up playing against Sofapaka.

As a result, several AFC players are looking for alternative clubs which is completely understandable. However AFC aren’t the only club facing financial challenges. Sofapaka are facing money problems and so are many other clubs in the league. So if you are running away from one club because of lack of money, please ensure that the club you are running to isn’t going through the same challenges; or you’ll find yourself boycotting games and training all over again due to salary delays.

Club owners will tell you anything to bring you into their fold but as a player you need to do your research. It is also a sad state of affairs that KPL clubs have less sponsorship than they did a year or two ago. Clubs should think about what they offer sponsors in return to ensure that once you clinch one, they never leave because the association is so beneficial to both parties.

I know the hullabaloo between KPL and FKF at the start of the season didn’t help make football in Kenya attractive to sponsors but that just means the KPL secretariat and club officials need to work extra hard to market themselves. Stop putting players in that precarious position of having to boycott training over delayed salaries. As football club managers help the players help you build a strong and attractive game that will one day become a huge money minting industry.

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