First off, the news of SportPesa's grand return to Kenyan football has been met with so much excitement. We've missed them, let's be honest! The country’s largest gaming firm, on Monday signed new partnership agreements with four key local football entities in the country. Gor Mahia FC and AFC Leopards will see SportPesa come on board as their main sponsors while the Kenyan Premier League has welcomed the company as its Title Sponsor, a partnership that will see the league renamed to SportPesa Premier League.
The Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has also entered into a three-year partnership with SportPesa with the aim of further developing the standards of local football.
SportPesa will feature prominently on the front of the Gor and Leopards shirts for the next 3 three years.
Besides partnering with Gor, Leopards, FKF and SportPesa Premier League, the bookmakers also acquired the domestic cup competition that will be known as SportPesa Shield.
Gor Mahia FC players celebrate lifting the 2017 SPL crown alongside team fitness instructor, Sandro Fantoni (3rd right) and SportPesa CEO, Captain Ronald Karauri (3rd Left) on Saturday, November 18, 2017 at the Moi Stadium, Kisumu. PHOTO/SPN
We all know what has happened in the recent past. A law was passed that subjected gaming firms to additional taxes which still do not make sense. However, despite the economic policy setbacks that the gaming companies have suffered over the past few months, SportPesa has decided to come out and assure Kenyans that they remain committed to supporting local sports as much they can. The objective, to get Kenya where it should be, among the great football nations of the world. These were the words of SportPesa CEO, Captain Ronald Karauri.
“Partnerships mean a lot to us as they enable us to tangibly impact communities and leave a lasting legacy – the journey of Qatar 2022 continues and we are honoured to be part of that journey,” added Captain Karauri.
The additional announcement was that The Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions Gor Mahia will take on arch rivals and domestic cup holder, AFC Leopards on Labour Day (May 1) in what is commonly known as the Mashemeji Derby. This will take place in Nakuru and the match winner gets rights to face the former English Premier League side Hull City who are expected in the country on May 11 for a five day visit.
Notably, it will be the Hull first team. The trip to Kenya will be a major score for the country’s football development goals. This visit is aimed at exposing local players to international competition and increasing their exposure on the world football scene.
So why should we cheer on Hull city against whoever will win the Mashemeji Derby? Yes, you got the answer right. Let our boys work hard for the victory. PT Barnum aptly said "Comfort is the enemy of progress."
If we cheer our boys, they will have a sense of comfort and they will not fight for the victory. How about we make them play hard against Hull City?
The exhibition match between Hull City FC and the Kenyan team will be played at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi on May 13. How about we fill up the stadium and deliberately make it a Hull City home game? Wouldn't it be outstanding for either Gor Mahia or AFC Leopards to then win that match and make it memorable? Wouldn't it help them improve their standards of football? Wouldn't it also set up an interesting chance for a rematch, possibly in the UK at the KCom Stadium, the home of Hull City?
It would be interesting to know your thoughts.