Talk of hooliganism and good leadership dominated as AFC Leopards officially unveiled betting firm Sportpesa as their sponsors for the next five years, yesterday.
The club has been a den of wrangles with hooliganism bedeviling the Kenyan giants since the withdrawal of the Mumias Sugar sponsorship deal two seasons ago.
But as the new Sh45 million annual sponsorship package was ushered in after the cancellation of the Betway sponsorship deal, the Mathew Opwora-led faction gave the function a cold shoulder raising questions on the unity of the club’s management.
But according to Sports Disputes Tribunal Chairman John Ohaga, the Sportpesa sponsorship agreement is legally binding.
“The journey to this point has been extremely difficult because as a result of the factions, there were two agreement signed with different sponsors. But this is legitimate because we intervened as a tribunal following meetings that went late into the night. If you have two commercial competitors fighting to sponsor you, you must be a powerful and attractive brand,” said Mr Ohago.
Despite the Sportpesa deal, the legendary Joe Kadenge says he saddened by the club’s leadership wrangles.
“I am always sad when I see us going down. We are not together even today in this hall and I can bet on that. I am asking them, why can’t you come together? What’s the problem?” said Kadenge.
Speaking at the same function, Sportpesa CEO Ronald Karauri and AFC Chairman Dan Mule expressed their joy on the partnership but urged fans to desist from acts of hooliganism.
“As the sponsors, there is always that fear. The Sportpesa derby this weekend will be great test for AFC Leopards as a club.“I’ve realized that the AFC brand is more valuable than what we’ve given, but we want to leave it being worth ten times more. This is a new beginning,” said Karauri.
“We assure our sponsors that the club is fully committed to fighting the isolated cases of hooliganism.
“We know our club has been marred by a series of wrangles in the recent past. But we assure you that we are committed to holding fair and transparent elections,” added Mule.