By Nyakwar Dani
Last week came with good news for those of us associated with Gor Mahia. The statement from the Chairman, Ambrose Rachier, that we had secured a shirt sponsorship deal with BetSafe was music to many ears.
The club had been without a sponsor for months, following the withdrawal of the previous partners from the Kenyan market. Anybody conversant with Kenyan sports and K`Ogalo affairs know how dire the situation got for our players and members of the Technical Bench following this withdrawal.
News of the three-year deal with Betsafe is therefore a welcome relief, not just to the office but also to the fans who often have had to cover their heads in shame as the media and bloggers had a field day running stories of Gor Mahia players ` financial woes. I congratulate the chairman and everybody else who worked to actualize this deal.
But it is not time to rest on our laurels. Experience from the past tells me that one sponsor is not enough to sustain Gor Mahia. The on-field success we constantly enjoy is an achilles heel of sorts. It comes with more matches- locally, regionally and in the continent- which means ever rising travel and accommodation costs. It comes with the need to sign quality local and foreign players, who are of course costly.
It is therefore paramount that the club continues to cast their net wider in search of more partners to bridge the gap that may be left by what the main sponsor is offering. We need, for example, to get a secondary partner whose logo can occupy the front of the shirt during our CAF matches- till the continental body’s deal with their betting partners expires. Such a partner can occupy another section of the shirt, such the sleeve, during league and cup matches here in the country.
We need to look for ways of sealing a deal with an official air travel partner, now that we fly a lot. This will give true meaning to the popular tune ‘Wuod Ogalo idho ndege ka matatu’ (the son of Ogalo boards planes frequently as if they were matatus).
How about an official partner in the tourism industry to ease our accommodation plans both locally and around the continent? Of course there is also need to embrace self-sustaining strategies such as membership drive, merchandize sales, ticketing, etc.
Most of ‘our age mates’ (teams we consider our equal around the region and continet0, have up to nine financial partners and we know how well they do. The relationship between financial stability and success in modern sport cannot be emphasized enough. There is enough space on the Gor Mahia shirt and training kit, lets cloud it!
I know what I am saying is not easy. But if it were; would it be worth the effort?
Over to you Mr. Chairman Ambrose Rachier and your team.