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.

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.