Relief for struggling ex-KPL champions as they agree broadcasting partnership with local network

Relief for struggling ex-KPL champions as they agree broadcasting partnership with local network

Mark Kinyanjui 15:12 - 21.05.2024

The 2009 KPL winners have struck a broadcasting agreement with a local TV station that will see them air exclusive club content.

Amidst their trials and tribulations, there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel for Sofapaka, who have agreed a broadcasting deal with Ebru TV, marking a significant milestone the club have achieved under the tutelage of new CEO Ronald Okoth.

Okoth, a former player who featured for multiple clubs including Sofapaka and reigning FKFPL champions Gor Mahia, took over as CEO in April, succeeding Jimmy Ombajo.

His appointment comes at a time when the club have been navigating a difficult decade, struggling to stay financially afloat since winning the 2015 FKF Cup. Club president Elly Kalekwa has faced ongoing challenges in keeping the club operational.

Financial instability has plagued the club, leading to players going on strike due to unpaid wages.

 This situation culminated in the release of nine players in December after they refused to attend training, resulting in their referral to a disciplinary committee. 

Additionally, the club faced a transfer ban imposed by FIFA for contract breaches involving defender Moussa Omar.

In an April 2024 letter, FIFA's Head of Judicial Bodies, Julien Deux, noted the club's failure to meet its financial obligations to Omar, who had not been paid since rejoining Sofapaka in August 2023.

Consequently, FIFA enforced an international transfer ban and instructed the Football Kenya Federation to implement it domestically.

Despite these challenges, Okoth has initiated efforts to rebuild the club. One of his first moves was to enhance the club’s social media presence to strengthen community engagement. 

The new partnership with Ebru TV represents a crucial part of this rebuilding strategy.

“We met the Ebru owners today [Monday], and they have always wanted to partner with us since we took office,” Okoth told Pulse Sports.

“Ebru is where I started my [football] analysis gigs years back, so they shaped me. I am super grateful to them for coming on board to support us in reviving the club.”

The partnership will include sharing Sofapaka’s content and establishing a dedicated Sofapaka TV segment on Ebru TV. 

This segment will feature training sessions, match day updates, news, and other content. 

Additionally, fans will have the opportunity to participate in pre-match, mid-match, and post-match analysis, enhancing engagement with the club through live broadcasts on the station.

By exposing their content, it should hopefully help build a community of fans that will help boost their matchday income. Although small initial steps, they could end up taking them far.