Ulinzi Stars land new shirt sponsors

By alex wafula
Jun 05, 2017
  • Ulinzi Stars players James Saruni, John Kago, Boniface Onyango, Geoffrey Kokoyo and Rodgers Omondi model the new jerseys. (Photo Courtesy)

Four-time Kenyan Premier League champions Ulinzi Stars have penned an agreement with betting firm Elitebet as their new shirt sponsors till the end of the season.

Although the figure of the agreement signed at the Defence Headquarters in Hurlingham was not revealed, Sports News Arena has learnt it could be in the region of Sh10m.

Waiyaki Hinga, the Elitebet Managing Director explained the amount which is set to be reviewed at the end of the season is dependent on the needs of the club.

“At the moment, we are dealing with the team’s logistics, kits and game preparation as well as match winning bonuses. Of course as we go, there are going to be needs and we have factored all that in the contract. But over and about, it should not be below Sh10mn,” Hinga told Sports News Arena.

Ulinzi who are backed by the Kenya Defense Forces from where they draw majority of their players have been without a shirt sponsor since South African company Engen left after their contract lapsed.

Major Joel Birgen, the Ulinzi Stars vice chair says it is a positive thing to have landed a sponsor especially with the broadcast rights money having been cut off following Supersport’s withdrawal.

“We also have very many needs as a team and this sponsorship comes at the right time for us,” Birgen said on Monday morning.

Elitebet becomes the fourth betting company to delve into the Kenyan football market. Mathare United (Betway), Sofapaka (Betika) as well as Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards (SportPesa) are some of the teams financed by betting companies.

Parliament shot down a proposal

Just last week, parliament shot down a proposal by Henry Rotich, the National Treasury Cabinet Secretary to tax betting firms up to 50 percent of their total earnings.

The move was welcomed by betting companies which had earlier threatened to pull away if the proposal was passed to Law.

Hinga has said retaining their tax at 7.5 percent will give them leeway to delve into more sporting disciplines as well as increase their current allocation to sports.

At the same time, Ulinzi Stars top bosses have promised that the money splashed by the company will be put into good use.

“As military, we have a very strict code of conduct and you can be sure this money will go into its intended use. We hope that this will now spur the team to work hard and win the title this season,” Brigadier Aphaxard Kiugu, the Kenya Defence Forces Football Association chairman said.

Ulinzi Stars players and the coaching team have conceded that the new package brought in will challenge them to work harder.

The soldiers are third on the KPL log with 24 points, three behind leaders Gor Mahia.

Benjamin Nyangweso, the Ulinzi tactician believes they will be in a position to challenge for the league title this season.

They will be boosted in the second leg by the return of striker Mark Bikokwa, midfielder Ibrahim Shambi and new boys Timothy Odhiambo and Bernard Ongoma who will be graduating from military training school.