In 2014, multiple initiatives were announced by Gor Mahia. These included the pay bill number 350100, the membership drive, various fund raisers, Diamond Trust ticketing etc. All these were poorly executed. And after much fanfair, the club all but stopped promoting these ideas. The 350100 pay bill number is a classic example. When it started, the club promoted it aggressively. The list of donors was updated often and the treasurer actually accounted for the money sent. playing unit was even wearing jerseys emblazoned with the pay bill number and many players actively promoted it. Suddenly the officials these useful activities. And naturally donations to the paybill number stopped. As for the membership drive, the club EC did very little to promote it.
It is important to give credit to the club officials for trying. Some EC members have made significant efforts. But it is also important to note where improvements are needed. The most important aspect of a new initiative is that it must be sustained. The club must constantly appeal to fans and give fans clear direction on how they can participate.
Back in 2010, the club introduced jerseys emblazoned with the club name: “Gor Mahia”. These jerseys became very popular and at one point generated some significant income for the club. But soon pirates took over the business. The club did not bother to warn fans about where to buy and where not to buy jerseys.
Earlier this year, Gor Biro bread was launched amid fanfair by none other than the former prime minister. There was plenty of excitement. One month later, the excitement appears to be dissipating and there is still no word regarding how much the club is benefiting from the bread. There are now some reports that the bread initiative is not really generating anything close to the income that was anticipated. In fact t would not be a bad idea for the club to wear jerseys branded with the bread to constantly remind the public.
Now the club has finally launched the Gor Mahia Sacco one year after it was announced. Chairman Rachier assured that Gor Mahia Sacco will be operated professionally and independently from the club and the chairman of the club will be the only official representative in the SACCO board. This is excellent news.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that the SACCO will be run by a Mr. Victor Kidiwa. If this is the same Victor Kidiwa who is the CEO at Development Bank of Kenya then this is good news. For many years now, fans on this blog and elsewhere have called for the club to be run by competent professionals who are accountable and understand how to market and promote ideas.
Fans will be hoping that unlike the membership drive that flopped, the SACCO idea will be promoted aggressively and sustained. The person running the SACCO must constantly update the members and keep them posted to assuage any fears that may arise. Running the SACCO with a modicum of professionalism and accountability is the most important aspect of sustaining the SACCO; Professional and accountable management will attract members.
Credit should go to the club patron Mr. Raila Odinga who has been at the forefront of this initiative and also the bread initiative. As a true sports fan, he wants to see Kenyan clubs prosper. Now its up to the fans to show their support for the club.
Structure of the SACCO
Mr. Kidiwa stressed that the SACCO will make use of modern technology in order maximize its income.
“The SACCO is capitalizing on the technological innovations in Mobile Money transfers to grow its Savings and real-time credit offering and has provided opportunities for all citizens to be a part of its growth. To join, an individual will be required to pay an entry fee of KES 500 and fully paid up capital of 50 Shares of KES 20 each, to be recovered from one’s total contributions at the end of the year”
“The SACCO will also operate on minimum contributions of KES 50 per days or KES 100, Weekly or KES 200 Monthly. All transactions can be done via MPESA’s AND MOBIKASH PAYBILL NOs. 897260 or through a bank account with Development Bank Account number: 5451034009 and your National ID as your Account Reference Number.
For every registration fee of KES 500 made to the Sacco, Gor Mahia Football Club will receive KES 100
One aspect that does not impress many fans is the “Adopt a player” initiative which sets out to encourage individual members to adopt a Gor Mahia FC player by saving for them KES 1,000 per month and eventually mentoring them into financially independent citizens.” . This initiative does not seem to make sense when you consider that the player turnover at the club is so high hat half the players never last more than two years at the club. Perhaps it would have been better to channel that money to the Gor Mahia U19 team or channel it towards a fund aimed at building a training ground for the club.
Do not give up on other initiatives
And finally, the club must not give up on other initiatives that were started. The paybill number, membership drive, jersey sales, merchandize sales etc must all be promoted aggressively. There are still some fans who want to give direct contributions to the club without joining a SACCO. These can use the 350100 pay bill number. There are some fans who would like to become members so they can vote in club elections. And there are some like myself who would like to purchase authentic club merchandize on a regular basis.
And do not forget about sponsorship. The club’s top brass must continue to seek corporate sponsorship. They need not seek a massive sponsorship deal such as the one they signed with Tuzo. Even a deal that is worth half that is worth pursuing. The club may need to become realistic about how much sponsorship it can attract right now.
In general, the club must continue to pursue several avenues of income if it is to be competitive at continental and indeed even local and regional levels. One positive aspect of losing the Tuzo sponsorship is that it has forced officials to think outside the box and it has made fans realize that they need to behave themselves.
Gor Mahia and AFC demand changes
Speaking of revenue sources, Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards, have called for a change of the Kenyan Premier League rulebook regarding gate collections in a desperate move to bolster their accounts.
Currently, the home team has solitary control over match day proceedings. Gor and Leopards now want this changed;
It is worth noting that at some point in the 1980s, 50% of net gate proceeds would go to the home team while 30% would go to the visiting team. This enocuraged fans to travel to away games.
The two clubs have also called for the abolishment of double headers. Gor Mahia organising secretary, David Kiilo, said that he had noted with great concern the manner in which clubs hike ticket prices when they face the two teams.
“We are struggling to meet our financial obligations, but these clubs are taking advantage of us and I think it is time somebody did something about it.
Most of these clubs are supported by corporate companies and ordinarily don’t charge entry fee, but drive the ticket prices to as high as Sh1,000 whenever they are hosting us or Ingwe,” Kiilo said.
AFC Leopards organising secretary, Timothy Lilumbi, accused the Kenyan Premier League Limited of conspiring with certain clubs “to force unnecessary double headers” for fixtures involving the two. “Surely it is not fair that other clubs take advantage of our huge following to make extra cash from us through gate ollections,” Lilumbi said.