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Why Raila was working out in a Sportpesa training kit

By Cecil Odongo February 1st, 2024 2 min read

Renowned politician Raila Odinga found himself at the center of controversy when he was photographed wearing a Sportpesa-branded attire, drawing criticism from fans who questioned his association with the gaming firm.

A viral clip showing the Opposition Leader engaging in a gym session while wearing a dark blue training kit with Sportpesa’s name inscribed on it has fueled the debate.

ODM Director of Communications Philip Etale shared the video on X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday morning, depicting a joyous Mr Odinga, a seasoned opposition politician, working out on the leg press machine in the sleeveless kit.

However, many X users took issue with the Sportpesa name on the kit, claiming the former Prime Minister was marketing the betting company and could be its brand ambassador.

“Handlers wa baba (Those who manage Raila’s programmes), why take video of him adorning Sportpesa branded merchandise. That is an endorsement, kubwa sana (Big endorsement,” wrote Erick Omollo Juma.

“How much did @Sportpesa pay him as an influencer?” posed @DaudiPhil

Another one @Kigen_kev said “Kumbe Sportpesa ni yake—inatukula vibaya (So Sportpesa is his and the way it is making us do badly in betting)

Many fans expressed dismay at the 79-year-old leader, wondering how someone of his stature could seemingly endorse Sportpesa. However, it turns out that the attire in question is Gor Mahia’s third training kit.

Also read: Trouble brewing as Police hike gate charges for Gor Mahia fans

Unbeknownst to the critics, Raila serves as the patron of Gor Mahia, the 20-time Football Kenya Federation Premier League champions, and Sportpesa is their shirt sponsor.

The shirt, which features the Sportpesa logo prominently, also bears the Gor Mahia emblem on the right side. Something many of the netizens missed to notice.

The renowned green jersey is the primary attire of Gor Mahia, and it has garnered the football club’s fans the title of the Green Army, often seen in large numbers at the team’s matches.

Gor Mahia’s second kit is white, while the controversial third kit worn by Raila is blue.

Sportpesa solidified its partnership with Gor Mahia in a landmark three-year deal worth Sh240 million, officially signed on September 23, 2022.

Others netizens however had a positive comment for the former Langata MP, saying despite his advanced age, he looked fresh and young.

Others called on him to be on the ballot in the 2027 General Elections so as to save Kenyans from the current economic distress.

“Baba bado Kijana (Baba is still a youth)” @Mecharic said.

“Mzee is still strong” said @John Kudri.