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Local football back in vogue

NAIROBI, Kenya, October 29- It’s a well known fact that the Kenya Premier League (KPL) has managed to find a place in the hearts of football fans but two events over the past week made me realize just how much of an impact it has made.GOR_AFCOn Wednesday, league leaders Sofapaka held a colourful ceremony to unveil their new Sh12 million sponsorship package from Blue Triangle cement for next season.

What makes the deal so profound is that a major company decided to enter new territory which previously has been shunned by the corporate world due to well documented mismanagement of local football.

The other incident took place right in the Capital FM newsroom on Thursday morning when our deputy financial manager sought our opinion on whether Sofapaka could clinch the league this weekend.

Liverpool’s exit from the Carling Cup the previous night and the fallout from Andre Agassi’s admission to drug use did not feature anywhere in our conversation which struck me as odd and at the same time refreshing.

Its been a while since local football has been fodder for water cooler conversations but the excitement created by KPL this season is hard to ignore.

The quality of football is terrific, the general organization at matchdays has improved, there’more exposure in the local and international media and players like John Baraza, Ibrahim Kitawi and Joseph Emeka are becoming household names.

AFC’s late resurgence and Gor Mahia’s mid season surge up the standings has brought in an element of drama, an indicator of how important Kenya’s biggest clubs are crucial to the league’s success.

Supersport’s involvement has been a major factor in the league’s revival but credit also has to go the KPL management for their shrewd management and commitment to a professional run league.

That attitude has trickled down to the clubs heralding a new age of football management and weekly pilgrimage to stadia across the nation.

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With three rounds remaining in the league, the mercury is set to rise especially at the lower end of the table as it is still not clear who will go down.

At this point in time, talk is rife that a major multinational company is going to sponsor the league for a colossal amount of money.

Going by the events this season, next term has a lot to live upto if success is to be maintained and to get the local populace get talking again.

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  1. ANDREW MAYENDE

    November 9, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    Talk of Kenyan soccer having been baptized afresh and you'll be sure of having me as your supporter. Stadiums in Nairobi are flocking with people to watch the local soccer spectacle which has steady improved, and did just to let you know, with this trend, soon our league is coming of age. think of how Sofapaka with vigour pump goals into the Red Berets goal or how magical it is to see AFC Leopards rise to the occassion and survive relegation,its real Kenyan soccer is back on course. Thumbs up.

  2. nicolas

    November 13, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    I agree with you Andrew, its more fun nowadays top go and watch local football. Its more fun and entertaining. The only thing left for it reach international standards is for football officials to work in one voice and come up with formulas and strategies that will drive football to international heights, and stop their constant bickering like small children.Who knows maybe in the next 10 to 15 yeas we could lift the African cup of nations and even the World Cup. Hats off to Sofapaka

  3. Anonymous

    November 13, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    I agree with you Andrew, its more fun nowadays top go and watch local football. Its more fun and entertaining. The only thing left for it reach international standards is for football officials to work in one voice and come up with formulas and strategies that will drive football to international heights, and stop their constant bickering like small children.Who knows maybe in the next 10 to 15 yeas we could lift the African cup of nations and even the World Cup. Hats off to Sofapaka

  4. Chris Buyu

    December 26, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    Truth be spoken. It is very gratifying to see your own local league become a powerhouse right before your eyes. Our local clubs are not just a reflection of us, but also a measure of how we value ourselves. Well maintained clubs would mean that the people are investing in the youth, and hence in their future. The reason Europeans or developed nations do so well is because they understand what it takes to build their future, and ensure long term rewards.
    The English league will never save our own league. It is a duty of all sport loving Kenyans to ensure the success of our league. Let us encourage our sportsmen by actively increasing our attendance numbers. A lot has to be accomplished, but it is very possible and quite easy too.

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