The start of the 2015 DSTV Kenya Basketball Federation League is in the limbo after 15 clubs were given an ultimatum to clear their outstanding financial dues or face expulsion.
Most of those affected by the threat of expulsion are self-sponsored clubs. Nine of the teams in the red list are part of the premier league and six are from division one. They have about a month to clear with the league organizers before fixtures for the new season beginning on March 14 are drawn.
The men’s teams which risk being locked out of the premier league are Aviation College, Thunder, Lions, Nakuru Club and Mennonite.
The women’s teams are Mennonite, Eagle Wings, Western Delight and Sprite Storms. Teams which could be axed from participated in the division one league are World Hope, Lakeside, Parklands Baptist, Nebulas Kakamega, Eldonets and Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology (JKUAT).
KBF is owed over Sh.1million by the clubs in league and affiliation fees that dates back to 2012 season.
This stern warning by the federation was issued as the teams started their pre-season training. “Teams are also advised to pay transfer fees for the players they had acquired for 2014. Unless these monies are paid, we shall not have any option but to stop the players from playing,” said competition secretary Joseph Amoko.
This is not the first time clubs are faced with money troubles. Last season, Safe Spaces which plays in the women’s premier league experienced financial difficulties and faced difficulty in honouring their first leg away games. But, they defied all odds to reach the playoffs quarterfinals.
Lions saw a big percentage of their players troop away to other clubs after Kenya Commercial Bank withdrew their sponsorship.
Players had to did deep in their pockets as they struggled to the playoffs last year. Denis Opiyo, Victor Ochieng and Moses Wanjara were the only senior players who held on as the team seemed headed for demise at the start of the season.
In some games, they could not raise quorum playing with few players same as relegated Blazers and Safe Spaces. In the just concluded season, Mennonite ladies team gave away some games after failing to show up citing similar problems.