• KPL’s plans to man their final top-flight season were thrown in limbo after SportPesa pulled out last week, citing the unfavourable business environment
• Kalekwa said their preparations for the new season were put in jeopardy but expressed optimism in signing a new deal to replace SportPesa
The Kenyan Premier League will convene a club chairmen meeting this week to launch a spirited search for a new title sponsor following SportPesa’s exit.
The league body, who are in a race against time in their quest to convince a new sponsor to come on board, will host all the 18 club chairmen to discuss the way forward and put measures towards ensuring the new season kicks off on August 31 as scheduled.
KPL’s plans to man their final top-flight season were thrown in limbo after SportPesa pulled out last week, citing unfavourable business environment. The body’s contract with Football Kenya Federation (FKF) to run the league ends in September next year.
According to the head of marketing at KPL, Elly Kalekwa, the sole purpose of the meeting is to pool ideas on how the new season will serve off as expected and how grants generated from their partnership with the title sponsor will trickle to the 18 clubs which constitute the top flight. Clubs bank estimated monthly grants of Sh600 000 from KPL.
Kalekwa said their preparations for the new season were put in jeopardy but expressed optimism in signing a new deal to replace SportPesa who bankrolled them to a tune of Sh87 million per annum. He said they had doubled their efforts in their search of a new sponsor after the gaming firm exited but they are still not successful.
“We will have a club chairmen meeting in the course of the week to discuss the way forward now that SportPesa is gone. From the meeting, we will be able to come up with ways of ensuring the league kicks off as pencilled and I can assure all our activities will roll on despite the financial challenges. The league was going on before SportPesa came and we shall soldier on even after their exit. At the moment, our plans have been shattered but we will come up with a solution.”
Meanwhile, Kalekwa, who doubles up as the Sofapaka President meanwhile revealed that his outfit will wholly unveil their foreign-based players at the end of the week after wrapping the negotiations.
Sofapaka lost all their foreigners in the ongoing player transfer window but Kalekwa disclosed that their replacements will be unveiled at the end of the week. The 2009 league champions parted ways with Ugandan striker Umaru Kasumba who has since joined Zesco United of Zambia and Burundian duo of Justin Ndikumana and Mousa Omar and Soter Kayumba.
He also insisted that Betika remains their official shirt sponsors while their newly signed deal with Portuguese based Living 3D Holdings Limited will serve as one of their partners. The club appointed Divaldo Alves from Portugal as their head coach last week, relegating John Baraza to the assistant coach ranks.
“We are almost done with our negotiations and by the end of the week, we will unveil our new foreign players. Betika remains to be our shirt sponsors and Baraza will serve as the assistant coach now that we have a foreign coach.”