The transfer season of 2012 has been one of the most interesting in recent memory. Gor Mahia has been a beehive of activity culminating in the arrival and departure of players and futile pursuance of other players .
Club chairman Ambrose Rachier recently announced that 2012 will be a year of reforms aimed at professionalizing the club. Such reforms are aimed at making this club a continental giant like it once was. So the question becomes: What off the field reforms would fans most like to see ?
One area where the club seems to be lagging behind is in the area of merchandizing. To begin with the only item that seems to be readily available for sale is the club matchday jersey. However sales of the club jersey appear to have plummeted because of fans perception that the club is getting a raw deal. The club gets only 10% of the revenue for each jersey sold. The rest goes to Legea. Its a weird scenario where Legea, an Italian sports equipment manufacturer benefits from both having its name and symbol advertized on the club jersey but also takes off with 90% of the revenue. It should be obvious to all that if this deal were to be restructured, jersey sales would skyrocket, benefiting both Gor Mahia , Legea and also Tuzo , all of whom will gain a lot more mileage as more people wear this jersey around town. Restructuring this deal should be a no-brainer.
Further to that , the club should seriously pursue merchandizing other items. Fans will be buy anything associated with the club. How about a calendar with pictures of past legends and present players. Scarves, jackets that are customized with the supporters name or nickname, umbrellas, soccer balls signed by players DVDs. Sometime in the early nineties, the club started to sell bic ball point pens emblazoned with the text “I support Gor Mahia FC”. They were supposed to sell for 10sh each but some cheeky vendors at Nyayo stadium were selling them for Ksh 20 and pocketing the extra 10 bob. This is the kind of fraud that the club should pay attention to.
Another area that is worth reform is the area of accountability. There have been suspicions amongst many fans that sometimes the announced gate collections do not reflect the attendance. The club should do something to assuage this concern.
Secondly, the club should step up its membership recruitment. The best way to kick start this is to get the club’s accounts audited by a reputable accounting firm. When the club is accountable, open and transparent, people will be assured that the money they contribute to the club is not being misappropriated or embezzled and there will be more people who are willing to become paying subscribers. The club can set up a system of membership with silver, gold and platinum membership. Platinum members can be those who pay membership dues of above Ksh 10,000 per year. Gold members pay ksh 5000 and silver members pay ksh 1000 per year and so forth. There are also hundreds of Kogalo fans in the diaspora living in North America, Europe, Australia etc. The club should enhance transparency to entice these fans to contribute to the club and also provide a mechanism for them to send their contributions. The vehicle below belongs to a die hard Kogalo fan currently residing in the frozen north. So die-hard is he that his number plate aka license number reflects the club’s name. And this picture was taken in 2002 when the club was in the doldrums battling relegation. These fans can be convinced to support the club materially and financially.
The number plate of a die-hard Kogalo supporter in the frozen North reflects his fanaticism for the club.
A further area worth reforming is the issue of player loans. There are many young Kogalo players whose development is being stunted by warming the bench. Players like Duncan Owiti Macheda, Roy Okal and could benefit by playing every weekend. If you practice every day but do not get a chance to put your training to use on match day, you will never develop. These guys are talented but we will never know how good they are if they only warm the bench. And in the current dispensation with fans demanding immediate results, there will be no opportunity to field them. So send them on loan to another team in the KPL or in the next level so they can build their confidence and sharpen their skills.
The issue of youth development has been covered in depth in a previous article. Its worth adding that Barcelona’s youth team currently plays in Spain’s second tier tus giving the youngstars much needed game time. . Instead of fielding a U-19 only during the KPL U-19 tournament, Kogalo’s youth team should be playing in the lower divisions every weekend. This will give them match experience and build cohesiveness such that by the time they are seniors, they will have been playing together for years and the coordination between them will be superb. Its no co-incidence that the Thika United U-19 team won the inaugural KPL cup. It was not a hurriedly assembled team like most others. It was a cohesive unit that has been playing together. Back in 1983, the Kogalo youth team drew significant crowds whenever the played. Fans wanted to see what they thought was the next generation. The same can happen today.
Thats yours trulys take on which reforms are neeeded. Now over to other bloggers. What would you like to see done in 2012 ?