We will witness the highest number of walkovers: Shimanyula

Tuesday, August 27th, 2019 00:00 |
Kakamega Homeboyz owner Cleophas Shimanyula (right) with the team’s goalkeeper Razak Arakaza from Burundi. Photo/PD/FRED LIKUYANI

Kakamega Homeboyz founder and chairman Cleophas Shimanyula has warned that a lot of walkovers should be expected this season if corporate companies will not come out to support Kenyan Premier League teams.

The country’s football has been severely affected by the stand-off between the government and a section of betting firms that has led to the cancellation of title sponsorships.

Main teams to have been affected directly are champions Gor Mahia and giants AFC Leopards who were both sponsored by SportPesa and Ulinzi Stars who were sponsored by Elite Bet. 

League organisers who are expected to issue monthly grants to clubs have also been affected by the withdrawal of SportPesa as their title sponsor.

“The future of the league is bleak and Kenyans should be prepared to witness several walkovers being issued if teams don’t get sponsorships,” said Shimanyula.

He added: “I pity our big brothers Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards whose budgets are about three-times the budget of Homeboyz, where will they get the cash to run the teams? Because they will need to be travelling almost every weekend to honour matches.”

Shimanyula urged Football Kenya Federation to urgently look for corporate companies to salvage the situation.

“Speaking about Homeboyz, we are prepared to honour all our league matches. We have been getting support from Kakamega County but now they are not getting funds, but I’m a businessman and I will find a way of toiling with the team to achieve our targets,” Shimanyula said.

Meanwhile, unlike most teams in the top tier league who have several foreign players’ connection, Homeboyz largely relies on local players.

Shimanyula said he has a deliberate policy to invest on homegrown players, adding that a big chunk of them are the ones who will do duty in the 2019/2020 season.

“We are seeking for a renaissance in the top tier league with the help of local players),” he said. Homeboyz was more of a development site but has rapidly come of age with Shimanyula having lofty ambitions for the team.

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