Why it was wrong for Namwamba to rescue debt-ridden Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards

© Ababu Namwamba (Twitter)

FOOTBALL Why it was wrong for Namwamba to rescue debt-ridden Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards

Joel Omotto 08:11 - 31.07.2023

The Sports CS rightly blasted K’Ogalo and Ingwe for their ‘bad manners’ but it was not right to reward the bad habits.

Sports Cabinet Secretary (CS) Ababu Namwamba blasted Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards for their ‘bad manners’ while giving them a rescue package of Ksh5m each to settle their debts.

Gor were kicked out of the CAF Champions League after their club license was revoked due to their inability to pay money owed to former players Adama Keita, Jules Ulimwengu, and Sando Yangayay on time while Leopards are under a transfer ban because of over Ksh20 million owed to former coach Patrick Aussems.

Leopards were in May 2022 ordered to pay Aussems a $145,000 (Ksh20.6 million) fine over breach of contract and by the time he left on July 10, he had not received his dues, leaving the club facing further sanctions.

The situations yet again exposed just how badly Kenyan clubs, and sports in general, are mismanaged and Namwamba gave them an earful even as he was rescuing them.

“The management of Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards must take full responsibility for this mess. This is shameful. Stop picking third-grade foreign players and coaches when we have good players here to choose from and coaches who are capable as Robert Matano, Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee, and Francis Kimanzi have shown,” Namwamba said on Friday night.

The CS claimed the amount was a one-off special parachute fund but was he right in the first place to rescue these two clubs?

For starters, Gor and Leopards are the oldest football clubs in the country, and given their huge fanbase, they should be doing better. You do not need to look further for examples. Across the border, Simba and Yanga are making nearly Ksh1 billion in annual revenues due to their proper planning and prudent management of resources.

It, therefore, means Gor and Leopards should not even be in these situations in the first place but the reality is they have been thriving in chaos for decades and it does not look like stopping.

So, for the Cabinet Secretary to rescue them, it means he is encouraging this bad manners when he should be helping them stop the bad habits.

“Gor Mahia you have embarrassed me, I had big plans for you but you have let me down. Why did you keep quiet until the last minute? Why did you not tell your Minister of Sports when I have an open-door policy?” posed Namwamba.

So, what will prevent other clubs from doing the same and going to Waziri for some rescue package? I mean, a precedent has been set, even if the CS insisted this was a ‘one-off.’

There have been claims that Gor and Leopards are too big to be allowed to collapse but if you play with fire, you should be ready to get burnt. It is not the business of the government to fund clubs, the state should only facilitate a good environment for them to thrive.

And by the way, how many Kenyan players have gone or are going for months without pay but are unable to speak out or go to FIFA like the ‘third-grade’ foreigners for fear of being excommunicated from their clubs or being rendered unemployable locally because they are ‘bad apples’ that should not be touched?

The two clubs represent a wider management problem across nearly all sports in Kenya and the CS should be cracking the whip whenever and wherever there is bad manners and not rescuing those who perpetuate it.