• While revealing the details of the pact at Kandanda House, FKF President Nick Mwendwa also announced and end to KPL's reign as the organisers of the national championship whose name is still being debated, between FKFPL or BPL.
•However, vocal Kakamega Homeboyz chairman Cleophas Shimanyula expressed reservations with the deal.
Clubs plying their trade in the Kenyan Premier League clubs have welcomed the new mega sponsorship deal between Football Kenya Federation and Nigeria-based betting firm Betking.
The deal valued at Sh 1.2 billion will hit the ground running from September and will run for the next five years where each club will pocket at least Sh8 million per year.
While revealing the details of the pact at Kandanda House, FKF President Nick Mwendwa also announced and end to KPL's reign as the organisers of the national championship whose name is still being debated, between FKFPL or BPL.
Mwendwa, who is projecting for a start to new season in October, added plans are underway to source for a company or board — to be approved by clubs — and whose secretariat will be at Kasarani to replace KPL in running the top flight.
Posta Rangers chairman John Tonui said the sponsorship will go a long way in improving the competition levels in the top league.
“We have been paying salaries before but this deal will help us start giving our players allowances and bonuses. It will also improve the livelihoods of players, coaches, referees and those directly involved in the game. Players will be motivated going forward hence the levels of competition will shoot up,” he said.
His sentiments were echoed by his Western Stima counterpart Laban Jobita who said he will build on the anticipated financial boost to fill the void left by Kenya Power and Lighting Company, who withdrew their financial aid last month.
“Eight million per season is better as opposed to nothing. Last season we did not enjoy grants and this is good news as we prepare for the new season. Clubs should now look for more through their fan bases, shirt deals and other unexplored avenues,” said the former Gor Mahia player.
Kariobangi Sharks chairman Robert Maoga noted that the deal will aid in redeeming the image of top flight football.
However, vocal Kakamega Homeboyz chairman Cleophas Shimanyula expressed reservations with the deal. Shimanyula, who has been a fierce critic of Mwendwa administration, questioned the absence of the firm's representatives during the announcement at Kandanda House.
“Mwendwa did not consult clubs before negotiating and signing the deal yet clubs have a say in as far as running the league is concerned. We have seen companies influx the Kenyan football scene only to turn out to be match-fixers and I call on clubs to be cautious when dealing with the firm," said Shimanyula.
"We are not sure if his office vetted them thoroughly to ensure they are coming and that they will not give us the short end of the stick while making billions from the deal.”