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No prize money for Mashemeji Derby’s Super Cup

Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards players during a past Mashemeji Derby. The two clubs will represent Kenya in next year’s Champions League and Confederations Cup tournaments. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 25- When Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards clash at Nakuru’s Afraha Stadium on Sunday in the season-opening Kenyan Premier league (KPL) Super Cup, it will only be for bragging rights after organizers announced there won’t be cash rewards for the winners.

This has been occasioned by the lack of sponsorship with league title sponsors SportPesa having pulled out early this year following the implementation of the 35 percent taxing by the Government.

“The winner will get a trophy and medals because we have to work with what we have. We would be happy if we had a sponsor, but the clubs understand the situation and they will be playing for bragging rights to win a trophy just before the league starts,” KPL head of logistics Frank Okoth announced on Thursday.

Gor and AFC fans in jovial mood as they head to the Stadium before Sunday’s Mashemeji derby.PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Previously, the season opening game was sponsored by broadcast sponsors SuperSport through their brand DSTV with the winners walking home with Sh750, 000 while the loser was handed Sh500, 000. However, the broadcast partners pulled out last season.

Both teams have lamented that it would lower the morale of the players without a cash incentive but nonetheless have promised to put in their best feet especially noting it’s a local derby.

“To be honest if it was any other team I would have thought otherwise about the line up but it is AFC Leopards and I understand how much it means for the fans so we will put in a strong squad for the game,” Gor Mahia head coach Dylan Kerr said.

His skipper Harun Shakava added;

“It’s a bit discouraging that this time there are no incentives. However, we have to go there and play to win because we know how much it means for the fans,” the defender noted.

-Looking for sponsors-

KPL head of logistics Frank Okoth. Photo/COURTESY

Meanwhile, the league managers remain confident that despite the exit of the title sponsors, they will be able to bring on board a new partner. They have maintained that the normal running of the new season which begins in two weeks time is on course.

“It is a blow that our sponsor left but that is not to say that life stops for us. We are hopeful that we will get new partners and so far we have several people who have knocked on our door. But we have to evaluate and see what’s best for us,” KPL vice chairman and also the deputy head of the sponsorship and marketing committee Elly Kalekwa said.

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KPL had a title sponsor for the first time in 2011 when East African Breweries came on board through their brand Tusker for a period of three years. After that, betting company SportPesa came on board in 2015.

-New Broadcast partners-

SuperSport cameraman.PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

At the same time, KPL will from this season work with Spanish broadcasting company MediaPro to produce KPL matches and in turn sell the product to both Free to Air and PayTV partners.

The league managers are yet to engage any company to air the matches though this weekend’s Super Cup will be broadcast by Free to Air partner KTN.

“We have managed to get a partner for this weekend’s match but we are yet to tie down anyone for the season. There are several people we are considering but we will release that same information in due time,” KPL’s Frank Okoth said.

Chinese company StarTimes had been said to be interested in the PayTV package but the talks according to reliable sources broke off. However, it is expected that Bamba Sports who aired the last half of the season last year will take up the slot.

MediaPro who also work with the Spanish La Liga will produce their own content with their own equipment which have already landed in the country.

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