AFC Leopards boss Shikanda fears for their sponsorship

Boniface Andayi

Boniface Andayi (right) of Ulinzi Stars vies for the ball with AFC Leopards' Kingley Fasanmi during their friendly match at Nyayo National sStadium on September 4, 2022.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Ingwe want uncertainty over Premier League start to be resolved quickly

AFC Leopards chairman Dan Shikanda is worried the giant club my lose its lucrative sponsorship from Betika if the uncertainty over the start of the Football Kenya Federation Premier League persists.

The start of the 2022/2023 league season has been delayed for nearly two months with clubs insisting they will only play under a competition that is recognized by Fifa.

Kenya is currently suspended by Fifa with football in the country managed by a government constituted team.

Club chairman Dan Shikanda said he feared that the prolonged delay could drive away the few sponsors in the league.

“I just pray that the confusion surrounding our football is resolved for the sake of our players who want to play and be paid. If things remain as they are then people may lose their jobs, and as a consequence, further harm the quality of the game nationally,” said the former Kenya international.

AFC Leopards have a three-year partnership with Betika worth Sh195 million.

“We have sponsors who have invested a lot in the teams and if this situation persists we will lose the sponsors,” Shikanda pointed out.

“We are yet to get any communication from anyone on the league's status since it was postponed indefinitely. We are still waiting and expecting to hear from the organisers on when we should start the league for betterment of our teams."

The FKF Premier League was originally scheduled to start on September 24 under the management of the FKF Transition Committee but the kick-off was postponed to last Saturday and then put off indefinitely.

“It is our prayer that the standoff between the government and Fifa is resolved immediately. We simply don’t know where to go from here. We shall start struggling. If sponsors leave, we shall start staring at a bleak future."

“We are facing tough times ahead, if the league will continue being postponed. The delay is creating anxiety in sports circles. The players are badly affected by the current situation. The arrival of Betika was bound to alleviate the grave financial constraints the team has encountered in recent days but this can become endangered."

The Ingwe sponsorship deal was announced in August through the "Betika Na Community Initiative", which aims to invest in the youth by nurturing talent through sports, and culture.

Betika came to Leopards' rescue at a time when the club was facing tough times, a day after Leopards terminated their contract with Spotika citing a violation of contractual terms.

The Kenyan giants are serving a two-year Fifa ban on signing new players. The club has managed to retain 90 per cent of their players from last season and are eyeing the league crown they last won in 1998.

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