Are Gor Mahia Financial initiatives being sustained ?

New reports today suggest that yet again there is trouble in the Gor Mahia camp due to non-payment of salaries. This time the players have not only staged a go slow, but they have skipped training and gone on strike.
“We have done our part but the office is letting us down by not paying us on time. Last Sunday, after the match against KCB, no one talked to us about this issues and we agreed to go on strike on Tuesday (yesterday),” a player said to the Standard.

The player said they are disappointed by the fact that while the club officials received Sh2 million as prize money for finishing runners-up in the CECAFA Cup, the players have not received any money. This leaves fans quizzical because Gor Mahia’s travel expenses were paid for by a combination of the Harambee money raised before the tournament and funds from the Ministry of sports. CECAFA paid for hotel expenses. So where has the prize money gone?
And this comes a day before they are due to play Ushuru FC in a midweek encounter scheduled for Wednesday 4pm at City stadium.
Asked whether they will turn up for today’s fixture, the player said:
“The game is not even on our minds. We are more focused on getting paid and we are therefore disappointed that no one has even bothered to talk to us.”

Inactivity with Financial Initiatives

When the SACCO project was officially launched, this column wrote an article stating that Gor Mahia officials typically just launch new initiatives then sit back and expect fans to come forward with money. They do not promote the initiatives and rarely  do they persuade fans by being accountable and transparent with funds. In fact one current official was brazen enough to state “Transparency is for members only”.

This is comical when you consider that many fans who have not contributed their hard earned money are hesitating precisely because they want to see transparency first. The fans have been asking for transparency for so long that many are tired of mentioning it.

The Gor Biro bread was launched with a lot of fanfare. But since then, it has not been promoted by the club at all.  And the club has not seen it fit to update fans on how much money was raised. The last report came one month after it was launched and it stated that Gor Mahia had only received Ksh 60,000 which falls far short of projections. Yet the club has still not seen it fit to promote the sales of the bread.

The SACCO was launched with what seemed like a high level of professionalism with corporate bigwigs put in charge. But that too has become moribund because the club stopped promoting it or persuading fans to join. The management team appointed to run the SACCO us hardly active in encouraging fans to join. At the very least they could produce audited accounts showing how much has been collected and how much has been disbursed to the club. This alone would encourage many more fans to join the SACCO

The 350100 paybill number, which started with a lot of promise, is hardly promoted and the club no longer accounts for whatever money they receive.  Other initiatives like membership drives were also launched and left moribund, not to mention merchandize sales which are basically non-existent.  The latter is a starke contrast from 2010 when Gor Mahia jerseys were selling at a break neck pace.

So for the umpteenth time, players have gone on strike due to unpaid salaries.

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Will the SACCO idea be sustained?

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.

Professional Management

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.

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Rachier and Aduda discuss finances

Ambrose Rachier announced that the cooperative society for Gor Mahia has been registered with the cooperatives society and will be launched on December 28, 2014

CEO Ludovick Aduda accused sponsors of discriminating against Gor Mahia because it is associated with opposition leader Raila Odinga. According to him, a board member questioned the club’s relationship with ODM

The report also suggests that Gor Mahia are pursuing a striker from Burkina Faso as well as Khalid Aucho and Farouk Sserntongo

Divisions within the EC

A report in michezoafrika suggests that Chris Omondi’s decision to resign was due to divisions within the EC, blatant disregard by his colleagues to instill professionalism in the team, set in place   youth structures as well as lack of ambition in the ongoing transfer market.

Apparently Omondi was restless  because despite a mammoth continental task awaiting them early next year- K’Ogalo is still over the moon- celebrating the league title and is yet to sign any player.

“Whereas Omondi advocated for investment in youth structures to act as club’s conveyor belt, the right- leaning wing at the club had stood for the “old school quick fix mentality”- basing their belief in signing established players on short term deals as the cycle continues.”

Omondi wanted the club to sign promising youthful defender in the mould of Charles Odette who has since been nabbed by Posta Rangers ahead of the rigorous continental campaign, some of his colleagues rooted for veteran Tusker defender Joackins Atudo.

Since Omondi resigned, the right leaning members of the executive that wields immense powers at the club have been meeting while sidelining others.

“Since he (Chris Omondi) resigned, some officials have been meeting while others are never invited at all in the meetings which is shocking to us,”

It is emerging that Chief Executive Ludovick Aduda and deputy secretary general Amina Ferrari are those that have been given cold shoulder while Omondi since his resignation has not been summoned to any of the meetings so far held to state his position.

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