It is with utmost regret that one day to the New Year, the sports fraternity has been plunged into chaos as its key investors – gaming companies – face a bleak future in a new era of excessively high tax.
While we are appreciative of the fact that the government wants to set up a sports fund with the increased revenue from these companies, we are wary of implementation and modalities of this fund.
It is for this reason that we would like to implore the government to rethink this move which will be more harmful than helpful. Gor Mahia has been through thick and thin over the years. Before SportPesa came into the picture, we struggled. This is an open secret. We went from selling bread to raise funds for the club to remain operational and pay players’ salaries, to setting up an M-Pesa PayBill number.
These methods, as evidenced by the state of the club then, were and are not sustainable. As champions of the 2017 SportPesa Premier League we know how close to the bottom we came and what it takes to remain on top: sacrifice and massive support.
To have a sponsor the likes of SportPesa who not only offers financial support but also capacity building is a big plus for any club not just Gor Mahia. SportPesa has gone the extra mile to ensure the club and its players as well as other Kenyan football players get several opportunities to showcase their skills to the world and train and play with the best
Kenyans were full of pride when Gor Mahia took on Everton in the friendly played in July at Dar es Salaam. These are the kinds of initiatives that bring pride to the nation and build sports careers of our young men and women.
We are few weeks away from kick off of our continental matches in the 2018 CAF Champions League which starts in February. Traversing the continent to honour our fixtures is an expensive affair which Gor Mahia cannot afford on its own. These matches are a source of pride for the nation as participation in the tournament raises Kenya’s profile as a sporting nation.
I can go on and on about how guaranteed and steady support by corporates to the sports sector is important. SportPesa has shown the way, investing in different sport disciplines, a fact that has kept players paid, clubs professional and given hope to many who have turned to sport for employment.
The sports industry is a latent giant, let us not waste this opportunity to develop it by repelling investors from the industry. I therefore plead with the government to rethink this move which will sound a death knell to this very promising industry.
Gor Mahia FC Chairman