When Gor Mahia returned from Tanzania after their CECAFA club cup campaign coach Frank Nuttall called upon sponsors to come on board to bolster the club financially.
“I’m disappointed that we did not win but pleased with the effort of the players, the staff and the management of the club. The success we had is because everyone played their part,” he said. “What we now need is for sponsors to come on board; whichever sponsor is out there should come and help the team,” he said.
In the final, Gor Mahia came up against a side in Azam that has a much stronger financial position due to its affiliation with the parent company Azam media. The club has facilities that have been described by the FIFA website as world class. They have a stadium of their own in which they host league matches and a team bus as good as any in Europe.
The mere fact that they have their own stadium is a huge advantage: It means players can spend more time on the training ground sharpening their skills unlike Gor Mahia who often can only rent City stadium for 4 hours a day and still have to pay through the nose.
To reach the level that Azam has reach financially, Gor Mahia will need to find other means of raising revenue. Of late two KPL teams have obtained lucrative sponsorship deals: City Stars penned a deal worth Ksh 81 million over three years while Mathare penned a deal in the region of Ksh 85 million. Both deals are well above the deal Gor Mahia signed with Tuzo in 2012 and well above the deals that AFC signed with Mumias Sugar.
Both teams have no fan base and City stars are battling relegation and will likely be in the lower leagues next season. One would think that a sponsor would want to associate with Gor Mahia, a high flying team that is known all over Africa, has a rich history a huge fan base and a winning tradition.
But sponsorship is not forthcoming for a number of reasons. The first is hooliganism. The second is politics. This means that Gor Mahia will need to wage a strong public relations push to overcome these factors.
Partner with a sponsor to combat hooliganism.
In order to combat hooliganism, security would need to be enhanced. Gor Mahia could propose a deal to corporates such that a significant percentage of the sponsorship money goes towards providing security at each game.
As much as 10% of any sponsorship deal should go towards additional security.
Gor Mahia would partner with the sponsoring company to pay for additional police including plain clothes policemen to sit among the fans. And additional police to protect the areas surrounding the stadium. This would apply for both home and away matches. Due to poor public relations Gor Mahia cannot afford another hooliganism event even when they are not responsible for security.
An arrangement that bolsters security at a stadium and its environs will give a potential sponsor peace of mind.
Gor Mahia must strongly appeal to the government to play its part by arresting hooligans. Whereas Gor Mahia can to a certain extent control fans within the stadia, they cannot do anything when fans are rioting say in Muthurwa.
Secondly Gor Mahia will need to make a conscious effort to appear non-partisan. In a country with such deep political divisions, Gor Mahia cannot be seen as being an arm of any political party. Former club CEO Lordvick Aduda cited this issue as a major stumbling block whenever he and Rachier visited corporate types to seek sponsorship.
Hold onto players
Gor Mahia will need to bolster its financial position if it hopes to hold ionto key players in the short term.
Striker Michael Olunga who has been the subject of much speculation has said he is currently focused on helping the club retain the league title.
“I have a contract with Gor and I don’t know much about the offers,” said the Geospatial Engineering student. “I just want to concentrate on our target and aim for the league.” he said to the Nation.
Following his CECAFA cup exploits, Olunga drew interest from all three top Tanzanian sides plus Bidvest of South Africa. It remains to be seen how much longer the club can hold onto him.