SportPesa CEO Ronald Karauri explains why Kenyan football needs many community clubs


FOOTBALL SportPesa CEO Ronald Karauri explains why Kenyan football needs many community clubs

Mark Kinyanjui 21:58 - 04.03.2024

SportPesa CEO Ronald Karauri has explained why Kenyan football needs as many community clubs as it can get, pledging a willingness by the company to help these teams grow.

SportPesa CEO Ronald Karauri believes that fanbase turnout in Kenyan football will increase drastically with the addition of more community clubs into the scene.

Kenyan football has famously had a fan turnout problem, with only two clubs, AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia attracting a lot of fans for a long time until the return of Shabana from a 17-year darkness, as well as Murang’a Seal, who were promoted to the Premier League for the very first time.

In the case of Murang’a Seal, it was actually SportPesa that came on board to sponsor them while they were still a grassroots team over six years ago, and they are now playing in the top flight week in week out.

Now, Karauri, who also serves as Member of Parliament for Kasarani, has revealed why he wants to see Kenyan football have as many community clubs as possible.

“I really advocate for community teams. You need teams that have an identity, you need a team where (as a fan) I will say, ‘I belong to’,” Karauri said.

“Something that will encourage me to take my child to the stadium to watch that game.

“You had Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards for so long. Murang’a Seal is also a community team, you have Kakamega Homeboyz, Shabana.”

Karauri believes that people would start taking Kenyan football very seriously if there were more communty clubs as fans would feel a sense of belonging to their teams.

“If the Premier League was made up entirely of community teams, you will start seeing the seriousness of football, when the fans feel they will be safe, you have marketing done correctly whereby people are aware of the sports and the value of this game, you make it more attractive, then you will see it happen.”

Karauri has however stressed that there has to be a willingness by all stakeholders to put their money where their mouth is in order to help reap rewards.

“But all those need money. Sports is expensive but it also pays, so there needs to be investment first and that is why SportPesa is putting that investment in sports hoping other co-oporates will also join in and it will definitely peak.”

Karauri was speaking to the media following the launch of the Tujiamini initiative that seeks to appreciate past, present and future sportsmen and women of Kenya is set to redefine the local

talent recognition and development landscape with its unique approach and commitment in exposing and rewarding talent and passion in sports.

This is the second time SportPesa is initiating Tujiamini, but with added impetus on providing monetary and in-kind support, targeting both sports related and non-sports needs. 

Over the next 10 months Tujiamini will allocate a monthly budget of over Ksh 3,000,000 to reward up to 87 applicants across four distinct categories.

The money will go towards the seasonal transport and accommodation needs for the team that is required to travel to Nairobi five times and once to Mombasa every season. 

The team will now be able to send a full strength team as opposed to the maximum of eight that travels currently for each away game.

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