NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 20 – Despite his passion and support to National Super League side Vihiga United, Vihiga Governor Moses Akaranga says his loyalty still remains in Kenyan Premier League giants AFC Leopards.
The governor was speaking on Wednesday at Nairobi’s Camp Toyoyo Ground after watching his Vihiga United team thrash hosts Kibera Black Stars 3-0 to climb top of the National Super League standings on 17 points.
Vihiga United is under the support of the county government led by Akaranga who has been following up the team whenever they have a match.
However, the county boss says he is not torn between Vihiga and AFC Leopards, a team that he has been supporting financially in the past years.
“AFC Leopards is still my team, I support them anytime. The chairman (Dan Mule) talks to me whenever they need something and therefore Vihiga United could be the Leopards junior,” Akaranga stated.
Vihiga came close to play in the top flight league last season despite finishing sixth after Football Kenya Federation president Nick Mwendwa ‘promoted’ them to KPL alongside KCB after Muhoroni Youth and Sofapaka failed to comply with the club licensing.
But Muhoroni and Sofapaka were reinstated back to the KPL by the Sports Dispute Tribunal to end Vihiga’s dream.
Nevertheless, Akaranga is confident the team will join the big boys next season and has given head coach Edward Manoah and his technical bench a target of finishing top of the National Super League standings this season.
“Last season they (Vihiga) were just short of joining the Kenyan Premier League and this year we have personal target to the coach that the team has to finish at the top of the National Super League and the way they are playing I am sure they are going to achieve that target,” the Governor said.
“Right now they have played seven matches and have 17 points to sit top of the table. I want the boys to continue enjoying soccer. I was a player, I played soccer from primary to secondary so soccer is in my blood, when I used to work at Barclays Bank I came up with Barclays Football Club which played in the Super League then.”
Akaranga revealed that the County Government has set aside some money from the Sh40 million budget they receive from the National Government per year to support the team.
“We have a budget of around 40 million shillings per year so it’s a budget that has been approved by the county assembly. There is no way we us leaders we will be talking about youth and we do nothing for them so I am just being practical,” he affirmed.
“We say we want to promote youth affairs let us promote it through sports. We have Vihiga United, Vihiga Queens (women football team), we have the basketball team, we have the rugby team, we have started cricket and even chess, let us give this youth what they want.”
His biggest challenge has been putting up a FIFA standard stadium in the county which he said will be up by the end of the year.
“As Vihiga we have Kidundu stadium but it doesn’t measure to the standard of FIFA rules so what we have done is that we are buying an extra land around that place that is costing something like 20 million shillings. When we purchase we are going to put up a FIFA standard stadium and I don’t think it’s going to take us more than a year before we do that so by end of this year we will have a FIFA accepted Stadium.