SportPesa sponsor Gor for Sh60m per season

By alex wafula
Mar 04, 2021
  • For the first time in Kenya football, two clubs have landed sponsorship by the same company. SportPesa urged Gor Mahia to eradicate hooliganism.

For the first time in the Kenyan derby history, both Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards will share the same shirt sponsor.

Just two days after AFC unveiled a Sh45m-a-season shirt sponsorship from local betting firm Sportpesa, their rivals Gor, christened Mashemeji unveiled a sponsorship agreement with the same company.

Although neither Sportpesa nor Gor declined to disclose the amount of the agreement, Sports News Arena reliably established the agreement is slightly over Sh60m-a-season for the next five years.

Gor’s sponsorship now stands as the most expensive in Kenyan football history. Sportpesa becomes  the biggest sponsor of Kenyan football because, in the Kenya Premier League, Sportpesa sponsorship is Sh218million annually.

They sponsor the Kenyan Premier League to the tune of Sh113m a season, AFC Leopards for Sh45m a season and now Gor for Sh60m a season. Adding on the logistical arrangements to their involvement in top flight football, they could be spending Sh300m a season.

“Sportpesa have done very well coming into Kenyan football. They have invested in the right thing. Other corporates should emulate them. I am not of the idea of corporates starting their own teams. Instead, they should sponsor clubs like Sportpesa has done,” former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, also the Gor club patron said during the launch.

Sports News Arena has also learnt the company will introduce digital branding to the live SPL matches as well as purchasing a bus for the two biggest clubs. Harambee Stars is also set to benefit from Sportpesa’s generosity.

But, Gor can now rest easy with money flowing into their accounts. For the last two seasons since Tuzo stepped off sponsoring them, the club has had no sponsor which has led to a boycott by players over unpaid dues.

“It has been a tough time for me personally and the club. Most of the time I have had to go back into my pockets to get money to finance the club. Sportpesa have come at the right time and we promise to be fully accountable to the last coin,” Rachier told Sports News Arena.

Hooliganism bothers new sponsors

The biggest issue still bothering the new sponsors is hooliganism. Sportpesa CEO Ronald Karauri urged the club to work and completely wipe it off local football. “Gor Mahia is a big brand and something small should not spoil the name. We will give the necessary support and ask the club to do something to see to it that this vice is completely done away with,” Karauri noted.

But while they share sponsors and the brand on the front of their jerseys, Gor and AFC will be total adversaries for 90 minutes on Sunday.

Currently, AFCLeopards are enjoying superb form having picked up seven out of a possible nine points in their opening three matches of the season. Gor have only managed three, from three consecutive draws.

In 2016, K’Ogalo is yet to win any competitive match. Gor coach Frank Nuttall is playing it calm and easy. The biggest trouble he has to face right now is the club’s poor scoring form. Gor has scored only two goals this season competitively, one from a penalty.

“That is a huge concern and I am hoping we can improve on it as we go. There’s no pressure on this match because for Gor, every match is a big match. We will try go out and turn up well, hopefully get all the points,” Nuttall told Sports News Arena.

Gor have won three of the last eight league derbies, AFC Leopards winning one while the other four have ended in draws.

It is said that form counts for nothing in a derby but for new AFC Leopards coach Ivan Minnaert, they are out to ensure they keep their positive side on. “We can’t say that we are the best, but if you compare how we have started the league, I can say we are ahead. It is a tough match, but I have been in derbies before during my time in Libya, Mali and Rwanda. I know how to handle it,” Minnaert offered.

Among the players to watch in this match will be AFC Leopards' speedy wingers Clifton Miheso and Simon Abuko. The two have been instrumental in Ingwe’s opening three matches and they have been rewarded with call ups to the national team.

Miheso has been particularly instrumental with his experience and is expected to play an even bigger role on Sunday. Andrew Tololwa who has been used in midfield by Minnaert will have to get a late clearance to play after picking up an injury in Ingwe’s 1-0 win over Bandari in midweek.

Gor's share of injury problems

Gor also have their fair share of injuries. Abouba Sibomana and Khalid Aucho missed the Ulinzi match with injury and sickness respectively while Bernard Odhiambo picked up a thigh strain and is not expected to be back by Sunday. Sibomana and Aucho have a slight chance of making it.

While Gor and Leopards battle in the derby, there will be seven other matches on Saturday and Sunday. Current leaders Mathare United will be at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani taking on recently promoted Kakamega Homeboyz.

Mathare have started the season strongly with two wins and a draw and Francis Kimanzi’s men will be out to keep the same flow of form on against a Homeboyz side that has lost two matches on the trot having won their opening fixture.

Third-placed Tusker FC will be travelling to Muhoroni, a tough hunting ground for any Premier League side. Muhoroni has been in good form, picking back to back wins after starting their season negatively with a loss to Posta Rangers.

Paul Nkata will be returning to the ground where he made a name, but there will be no sentiments when he leads out his current employers Tusker. Nkata is under pressure to take the league title back to Ruaraka after missing for the last three seasons and for him, every match comes with its own fair share of pressure.

It is expected to be an interesting match with Nkata knowing the Muhoroni philosophy inside out while Muhoroni understand Nkata’s playing style.

Fixtures

Saturday: Mathare United v Kakamega Homeboyz, Posta Rangers v Sofapaka (Kasarani), Chemelil Sugar v City Stars (Chemelil), Muhoroni Youth v Tusker FC (Muhoroni), Western Stima v Thika United (Moi Stadium, Kisumu); Sunday: Gor Mahia v AFC Leopards (Kasarani), Bandari v Sony Sugar (Mbaraki), Ushuru FC v Ulinzi Stars (Ruaraka).