Various reports have indicated that British betting company Betway is in the midst of finalizing a deal to sponsor both Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards. It is the same company that sponsors West Ham United in the English premier league to the tune of West Ham £20m over three and a half years. Betway is eager to make inroads into the Kenyan sports scene where sports betting has suddenly become fashionable.
In Tanzania a similar situation was in existence for years as the two big clubs, Simba and Yanga were both sponsored by Kilimanjaro Premium Lager Brand. What this does is that it shields the Kilimanjaro Brand from resentment from one group of fans. By sponsoring both teams, the Kilimanjaro Brand can obtain support from both Simba and Yanga fans.
In Kenya the same situation pertains. Sponsoring both teams together shields the two teams from the political intrigues that hinder sponsorship in Kenya.
The deal is supposed to be announced next week. However there are reports that Sportpesa approached a faction of AFC officials and agreed to a different deal while other AFC officials complained that they were not consulted.
A report from mediamaxnetwork suggests that AFC officials claimed that Betway have pledged Sh30 million in sponsorship for three years which will be extended on mutual agreement with a 10 per cent annual increase, while SportPesa are ready to dole out a similar amount for a five-year period but with strings attached. Among other things, Sportpesa want AFC officials to accept that the betting firm hire their own accountant to audit the cash that will trickle into the team after the deal. Additional reports from goal.com suggests that sportpesa presented both AFC and Gor Mahia with similar deals.
If this is true then it becomes incumbent for officials of both teams to work together for the sake of the clubs. Selfish vested interests or incompetence from one set of officials could derail a deal for both clubs and leave both clubs sponsor-less for more years to come.