Nairobi News


Vision for a thriving FKF Premier League

A few years back, the Kenyan Premier League was the most talked about competition in the East and Central Africa region, thanks to a large extent to the media visibility courtesy of Pay-Tv channel Supersport and quality players signed by the top teams

And the results kept trickling in.

In 2019, Gor Mahia, Kenya’s most successful football club, made it to the quarter-finals of the Caf Confederation Cup, a money-spinning tournament that attracts Africa’s top teams.

A lot of water has since passed under the bridge and the league is today a pale shadow of what it once was.

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Instead, neighbours Tanzania now boast of one of the best leagues not only in the region but also in the continent as evidenced by the performance of top clubs Simba and Yanga at continental meets.

Over the past month, I have had the privilege to attend several local Premier League matches involving Gor Mahia, the defending champions, and the club I played for in the late seventies.

The match between Gor Mahia FC and Bandari FC in Machakos was a true testament to the vibrancy and passion that defines football in our nation.

I must admit here that we do not have a shortage of football talent, what is lacking is the marketing of the league which attracts corporate sponsorship.

I have always maintained that a strong Premier League ensures the country has a strong national team.

The ranking of the national team in the world is a clear indicator of the level of our Premier League.

Two months ago, I announced my candidature for the post of the president of the Football Kenya Federation.

I drew my inspiration from the fact that having played for both Gor Mahia and Kenya during my playing days and being a beneficiary of a very strong and organised youth development program, I believe we can work together to bring back the glory days when Kenyan clubs were respected in the region and continent and the national team qualified to the Africa Cup of Nations at will.

My vision is to elevate our Premier League to new heights by being cognizant of the immense responsibility that comes with leading a national Football Federation.

To achieve that, we must usher in a new era of transparency, accountability, good corporate governance, progress, prosperity, and sporting success of our beloved sport the beautiful Game of Football.

I remain committed to the football community and I believe that for our league to be stronger we must increase revenue share to the clubs of FKF Premier and focus on enhancing the financial stability of our clubs.

Our football clubs are the lifeblood of the FKF Premier League and their financial health is of paramount importance therefore we must implement a comprehensive plan to substantially increase the revenue share to the participating clubs and create a more sustainable and competitive Premier League.

This involves exploring new innovative commercial avenues, renegotiating broadcasting contracts, and fostering lucrative partnerships that inject financial vitality into every participating team creating a sustainable financial ecosystem for our clubs.

Further, the current revenue-sharing model by the FKF regime needs to be reviewed and adjusted to favour the participating clubs who needless to say are in dire need of financial resources to sustain their operations and meet their obligations.

In line with this we must secure a league title sponsor.

A strong and reputable league title sponsor is crucial for the growth and global recognition of our Premier League and for enhancing the overall brand value of the competition.

We need to secure a prominent title sponsor that will elevate the league’s profile and attract a wider audience, greater commercial interest, and provide our clubs with the financial backing they

The same applies to the lower leagues which need to be empowered. I do believe that the importance of strong NSL and Division 1 leagues is crucial to KPL is very important.

Another area that we must work on is the players’ welfare.

Our players are the backbone of the sport, and their holistic well-being is of paramount importance and is non-negotiable.

We must spearhead initiatives to enhance players’ welfare programs, including but not limited to advocating for respect and honoring of contractual obligations between players and the clubs, partnering with stakeholders to provide comprehensive medical support to the players, exploring educational opportunities and scholarships, and more importantly a post-playing exit strategy for retiring players.

This holistic approach ensures that our players not only excel on the field but also lead fulfilling lives beyond the pitch.

Our players are the backbone of the sport, and their holistic well-being is integral to the success of our football.
Sustainability is a key pillar of my vision and a driver of the long-term success of our clubs.

We will need to work closely with club owners, sponsors, and other stakeholders to develop and implement sustainability initiatives.

This involves prudent financial management, rationalization of income-to-expenditure ratios, expenditure rationalization measures, and facilitating partnerships that contribute to the sustainable growth of each participating team.

But also of importance is building programs for our clubs which include but are not limited to providing access to coaching development, training in brand building and marketing, sports science advancements, and modern training facilities.

We must empower our clubs with the tools for success which is essential for the overall growth and competitiveness of our league.

Then there is the aspect of fan engagement.

The heartbeat of football lies in its fans.

We must foster a deeper connection between clubs and their supporters through enhanced fan engagement initiatives beyond the match day experience.

This involves creating fan-friendly experiences, leveraging digital platforms, and facilitating open communication channels between clubs and their supporters.

Let us collectively make watching football in our stadiums a family-friendly event.

As a former footballer and stakeholder in football development, I believe in anchoring our league in growth, sustainability, and inclusivity.

We need to come together to usher in an era that not only enriches the footballing experience for fans but also ensures the enduring success of our clubs.

Together, let us elevate our Premier League to new heights.

The author is a former Gor Mahia and Kenya international and an aspirant for the FKF presidency