Time ripe for AFC to turn into a company

President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) shakes hands with AFC Leopards chairman Dan Shikanda during a breakfast meeting at State House, Nairobi on March 9, 2020.

Photo credit: PSCU

What you need to know:

  • Kenya’s oldest and arguably most supported club, having been established in 1964, did extremely well during the initial three decades under a community banner
  • On the other hand, Ekhalie says, a corporate structure thrives on a strong financial stability slate fuelled by performance and accountability
  • With various failed attempts to change the structure of the club to corporate, the current Covid-19 pandemic should surely open the eyes of the Ingwe fraternity

Turning AFC Leopards into a limited liability company is the best thing that can happen to our beloved club.

I hear a process has started towards that objective.

If indeed the individuals behind the idea are doing it in good faith then we need to join them and invest in this great club.

I join other club members in fully supporting this initiative.

As the saying goes, doing the same thing and expecting different results is insanity. How apt this applies to AFC Leopards Sports Club aka Ingwe.

After 56 years of existence it should now be ripe for transiting to a corporate structure from the current societal structure that has outlived its usefulness.

And nobody would perhaps know this better than the club’s two times former CEO, Richard Ekhalie, who has for the longest time been championing for the big switch from society to a corporate legal entity limited by shares.

Kenya’s oldest and arguably most supported club, having been established in 1964, did extremely well during the initial three decades under a community banner. It held the nation’s most honoured club flag for the longest period then, until 1998, when it bagged its last league title to make it 13.

Twenty-two years later, the club has missed out on the big trophy, surrendering its prowess to those noisy neighbours who have since, luckily, amassed the highest number of top honours.

While pundits may point the slump in performance to political wrangling at the club, recent football traits in the world point to a different thing. A weak society structure based on patronage is the primary cause of Leopards unending woes.

Apart from being vulnerable to power games instigated by wealthy patrons with interest in political seats, Ekhalie argues the society structure lacks financial accountability due to weak checks and balances. The structure also lacks sustainable financing programmes that can survive the demanding modern football terrain.

On the other hand, Ekhalie says, a corporate structure thrives on a strong financial stability slate fuelled by performance and accountability.

With a return on investment being the motivating factor of shareholders who provide the financial backbone, performance on the pitch can only be the yardstick to measure success of the management of the club, whose contracts are performance based.

With various failed attempts to change the structure of the club to corporate, the current Covid-19 pandemic should surely open the eyes of the Ingwe fraternity and mark the turning point of the club to become a corporate entity.

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