Rachier: No relief for the players yet

Eliud Owalo and Ambrose Rachier

Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier has indicated that the the club will not receive any of the sponsorship money from Betsafe until football activities resume.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Gor Mahia Chairman Ambrose Rachier has said the club is still in the red despite unveiling a Sh55 million sponsorship deal on Thursday last week.

He said the club signed a pact with betting firm Bet High Kenya Limited, under its leading brand, BetSafe, but the money will only be released after the football league resumes. Football Kenya Federation (FKF) abruptly halted the league following the coronavirus outbreak.

In total, Gor Mahia will receive Sh165 million over three years, but Rachier said: “Please do not be blinded by that money because we still have a big problem.

“Our agreement with the sponsor is that we will give them visibility. So disbursement of funds will happen when football resumes. The sponsor cannot pay us for sitting at home during this period of the coronavirus pandemic. The problem is, we do not know when the games will next begin.”

The veteran football administrator spoke on Saturday during a luncheon organised for the players by management consultant, Eluid Owalo.

Before inking the BetSafe deal, the Kenyan Premier League champions struggled financially for the entire 2019/20 season owing to a lack of sponsorship and meagre gate takings.

Owalo gave the players and technical bench, who have not been paid their salaries for the past five years, a Sh250,000 token.

“I have received several distress phone calls and decided to have lunch with the players to encourage them because, at the moment, it is tough for everyone. Gor Mahia is a big brand and we must adopt a business model to run the club. We can become the Barcelona or Arsenal of Kenya, but it requires a paradigm shift. Let us not be resistant to change,” Owalo added.

He promised to assist Gor Mahia to engage in an income generating business so that the club remains afloat and does not rely on sponsorship in the future.

He said that it was time for the giants of Kenyan football to become self-reliant and be in the same league with the best clubs in Africa and Europe.

“If Arsenal can do it, Gor can equally do it. If Barcelona can do it, why not Gor Mahia?” he asked.

Gor coach Steven Polack, official Judith Nyangi, Team Manager Jolawi Obondo and a host of players attended the luncheon.

Acting captain Joachim Oluoch, who spoke on behalf of the players, thanked Owalo for his kind gesture.
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Gor midfielder Clifton Miheso said, “We live moment by moment. The government recently gave us something and now fans are coming in to support us.”

Gor were crowned the 2019/20 KPL champions by Football Kenya Federation (FKF) which also cancelled the league citing a government directive on social gathering.

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