Can K’ogalo score the sponsorship goal in 2011?

Posted on January 10, 2011

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The success of Kenya Premier League 2010 season is –to a large extent -attributed to the resurgence of Gor Mahia Football Club.

The team whose supporters have aptly maintained that they are followers and not fans raked in Sh200 million in what is known as Advertising Value Equivalent in local media between March and November last year.

K'ogalo fans: The self confessed follwers have brought back glory to the Kenya Permeir League

This value far much outstrips the advertising budget of a number of corporate companies in Kenya over the same period.

In terms of media mention, the team was mentioned in both print and electronic media in over 1,700 news and feature items in the country.

These are figures that public relations agencies world over would receive fat pay cheques from clients if they can pull them through.

Going by the statistics, corporate sponsors could be falling over themselves to get a piece of the team fondly known as K’Ogalo among its followers. Compared to similar clubs in the continent that enjoy such overwhelming support from its aficionado, it begs a lot of question as to why no company has put its money on the club.

Although the club’s followers have in the period stood with the team both financially and as the 12th man in each and every game, sponsorship is every club’s ultimate goal world over. Sworn nemesis Abaluhya Football Club (AFC) has managed to sweeten their sour performance last season with a Sh15 million deal with Mumias Sugar Company Ltd.

Other clubs like 2009 title winners Sofapaka have East Africa Portland Cement Company in their back pocket, Thika United have Brookside Dairy Ltd while Mathare United are connected with the Kenya Data Networks. This raises the million dollar –or is it shilling? –question: why is Gor Mahia a hard sell?

In the run up to the end of the league last year, about two companies were rumoured to be engaged with the club officials for a possible sponsorship. Motor vehicle dealer, General Motors EA Ltd, was said to be assembling its Isuzu brand of trucks to carry Gor during the 2011 KPL season. However, not much came out of it and it remained in the grapevine as just that.

Then came the much sought after company by sponsorship-seekers -Safaricom Ltd, which was also said to be keeping a keen dial on the team’s performance and progress for a possible call up.

Former and current Safaricom CEO MJ and Bob Collymore adorn Gor Mahia team jersey at a staff party

This was further heightened when the listed firm’s former chief executive officer Michael Joseph and his successor Bob Collymore were presented with the team jerseys at a staff farewell party.

The speculations reached a crescendo then but have since died out with no indication either officially or through rumors on the call from Safaricom’s Waiyaki Way headquarters.

 

Several theories, both professional and otherwise, have been forwarded as to why the team, which provided the KPL Footballer of the Year, George “BlackBerry” Odhiambo, and the Best Coach of the Year, Zedekiah “Zico” Otieno in the SOYA Awards, is yet to score the most important vital goal –secure a sponsor.

Ranging from the club being a tribal outfit to the ecstatic -sometimes bordering on the misbehaviour -of its “followers” have all been advanced as the Achilles Heels of the club.

Although long associated with the Luo community, the club has made strides and today attracts a cross section of Kenyans who not only rally behind it for support but also play for Gor, making it a cosmopolitan outfit.

For instance, among its players from other communities include teacher-cum-player Dan Makori, John Kiplagat Christopher Wekesa, Musa Mohammed, Baldwin Ngwa from Cameroon, Abdulmalik Mohammed, Andrew Murunga, Solomon Nasio and Ugandan Evan Anguyo, to name just but a few.

Former Gor Mahia striker and now Randers FC player George 'Blackberry' Odhiambo displays his KPL player of year trophy

The club is also said to be in the process of establishing offices across the breadth and width of the country to the already active branches outside Nairobi, Nyanza.and Western provinces such as the Kiambu branch to boost its growing support base.

It also boasts of a vibrant Facebook branch that has over 6,000 faithful members devoted to the club’s activities across the globe.

Despite not having a sponsor, K’Ogalo has put on a brave face, finishing a credible second in the title chase and BlackBerry signing up for Danish club –Randers FC to crown a fairly good year 2010 on a high.

 

It has lined up several activities this season with winning the KPL 2011 top on the agenda and buying a team bus on their to-do list.

Is there any better proposal for sponsorship than this?

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