Gor Mahia Chairman Ambrose Rachier was interviewed recently and he mentioned that the club makes no money from sale of merchandize. Thats right. Gor Mahia makes exactly zero Kenya shillings from sales of the ubiquitous jersey. This must come as a surprise to many fans considering that almost half the fans who show up at the stadium these days are spotting a Kogalo jersey. So where exactly does this money go ? Chairman Rachier blamed it on piracy.
Rachier estimates that Sh72million is needed every year with Sh2.6 million spent on salaries each month. “We make roughly Sh1million per month from gate collections while we get Sh350,000 per month as grants from KPL and Supersport. When we combine all this, they will not be enough for us to handle the club,” said Rachier the people newspaper.
Tuzo suddenly decided not to extend the contract that saw them hand K’Ogalo Sh29million per year since 2011 and that has left a huge financial burden to the reigning league champions. It came as a surprise to most fans. A six month notice from Tuzo would have been good. Instead Gor Mahia got about 3 months and it was at a time when officials were still in the throes of campaigning.
The club officials deserve credit for seeking other sponsorship deals. They have been busy trying to strike deals with various In the meantime however they must seek other avenues to raise money.
Necessity is the mother of invention. The first order of business must be to find a way to make money from merchandizing.Once this is sorted out, fans should be urged to show their support for the club by buying official club merchandize. If Piracy is indeed the problem, then fans should be warned on where to buy and where not to buy merchandize.
Perhaps Gor Mahia should resort to selling merchandize only at specific locations as is done with match tickets. This way fans know where to buy and where not to buy merchandize. Eventually the pirates will go out of business if the fan base and the general public is educated on where to buy merchandize.
And selling merchandize should not be restricted to jerseys : Last year it was reported that a bookstore in Westlands was selling Gor Mahia Christmas cards. The club was making no money from the sales. But even when informed, the response was along the lines of “It is good that the club is getting some publicity“.
Membership and Financial Transparency
Secondly, the club must get aggressive about its membership drive. As has been pointed out many times on this column, there are thousands of fans who would contribute KES 500, 1000 or more. There are fans in the diaspora who would be willing to send money to the club regularly. Perhaps the biggest hindrance to this endeavor has been a perceived lack of transparency. Some fans want to contribute but they wonder where the money ends up going. Does it end up in some officials bank account ? This is not clear. if the club were to become serious about opening its books to a public auditor then publishing audit findings, you will find Gor Mahia fans from Kenya and all over the world ready to send money to the club.
The time is now
The Gor Mahia fraternity must work urgently to stabilize the financial situation at the club. Putting all their efforts into finding a sponsor could be disastrous. It may take several months or a year before another sponsor comes on board. By then the club may have already faced a real player revolt over unpaid salaries. And it may come at a critical juncture such as when Gor Mahia are preparing to go to the CECAFA club cup