There seems to be light at the end of the tunnel Kenya Premier League Champions Gor Mahia and their counterparts AFC Leopards. This follows news that betting firm Sportpesa might be making a return to the Kenyan Market.
Thursday saw Sportpesa call for a meeting with their former employees. In a letter from Sportpesa head of human resource Terry Wanja, the Chancery building based betting firm called for audience with their former employees to discuss two items.
The first item is “Withdrawal of termination notices dated 2nd October, 2019.” The second item said: “Tomorrow at 11am [we will communicate the] next steps.”
Sportpesa retrenched over 400 employees on October 2, with the company stating that it was no longer able to continue operations in a Kenyan economy they termed as hostile following unending taxwars with Kenya Revenue Authority.
Before retrenching it’s staff, Sportpesa had cancelled all Sports Sponsorship deals with various entities in the Country. However, the company stated that it would renegotiate the status of it’s various sponsorships once it resumed operations as it was focused on helping develop sports in the country and especially at the grassroots.
“We will review the business position pursuant to this and determine the areas of sponsorships that we will be able to support. We remain committed to sports development in the country and we will aim to restart sponsorship of all our previous agreements, to the best of our ability,” Said Sportpesa’s Head of Communication Jean Kiarie on September 9.
On August 6, 2015, the betting giants signed a four-and-a-half-year deal with the Kenya Premier League (KPL) reportedly worth Sh450 million to gain naming rights.
The league, which Kenya’s top-flight football league, was renamed SportPesa Premier League.
The gaming company also signed a deal with KPL champions Gor Mahia and their rivals AFC Leopards in a deal worth Sh120 million each year.
The KPL currently has no sponsor following the exit of Sportpesa. Various teams in the League have been affected by this. Gor and AFC Leopards have had to make do with donations from fans. Times are generally hard for a number of teams in the KPL with some previously calling for suspension of the League until a way forward is found.
Currently Sportpesa sponsors English Sides Everton FC and Hull City FC, Italian Side Torino FC, South African side Cape Town City F.C, Tanzanian Sides Simba SC and Young Africans SC.
Sportpesa is also the betting partner for Arsenal FC and Southampton FC.
On 13 February 2019 it was announced that SportPesa became the new title sponsor for the Racing Point F1 Team for the 2019 season. The team was officially entered as SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team.
Well, a return of Sportpesa would certainly do more good to the Kenyan football scene.