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GOR MAHIA AND AFC LEOPARDS: BIG BUT ONLY ON PAPER

GOR MAHIA AND AFC LEOPARDS: BIG BUT ONLY ON PAPER

Uhuru and Gor MahiaBy Fredrick Nadulli aka Razor,

Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards are undoubtedly Kenya’s most decorated football clubs. Between them, they have over the years carried the country’s flag on regional and continental assignments and gone on to write the golden pages. These two giants command massive following besides whipping ethnic emotions.

 

In recent times however the ethnic factor has been done away with, and the clubs to their credit, outgrown the tribal monster to accomodate all and sundry and assume a national outlook.

 

Yet for all this handiwork, Gor and AFC are miles away from rising to self-sustainance and operate like the professional outfits they are touted to be.

For a country that sometimes gets perilously inclined to take sides,this is vital for cohesion and co-existence. Yet for all this handiwork, Gor and AFC are miles away from rising to self-sustainance and operate like the professional outfits they are touted to be.

 
BUILT ON QUICKSAND
The biggest problem that afflicts our clubs is lack of clear focus and blueprints, apart of course from (mis)management. Rather than have too many officials who fall over themselves to stay relevant by duplicating duties, these clubs should instead rope in professionals like marketers and strategists to drive forward the development agenda.

 
That Leopards faced a player exodus after failing to remunerate their workforce even with the solid backing of a tidy sponsorship is testament to poor management and lack of foresight.

 
That Gor let their top players leave the stable for a song only to turn around and extend the begging bowl underlines the missing link in the running of these clubs. Whoever balances the books of Gor and AFC must indeed be an accounting genious. These two teams are the perfect case study of how not to run a business.

 
Top African clubs supplement their budgets with the sale and transfer of players for clubs that have existed more than half a century, Kenya’s two celebrated giants have no permanent addresses to call secretariats. Their structures, if at all they exist, are built on quicksand. Both clubs have a rich history the present and future generations should draw inspiration from.Sadly it only exists on paper.

 
AFC Leopards dominated the Cecafa club championships in the early to mid 80s like child’s play.Gor Mahia were Africa cup winners in 1987, a feat that still commands massive respect in North Africa, not least Tunisia. This year they are aiming to win the Kenyan title for the third year on the trot.  Ruefully, none of these giants own a proper secretariat, or clubhouse at the very least, to serve as an archive for all these achievements. Most are displayed in private offices or homes of top officials.Perish the thought that these artefacts disappear while in personal custody.

 
In hindsight,comparing these clubs with other continental giants that own club houses where their cherished history is preserved would be an overstatement,but generations would for instance love to see photos of their beloved heroes, kit they donned, replicas of trophies they won etc. That should not be too much to ask.

 
Granted, Gor and Leopards are older than say Azam of Tanzania, or even Asec of Cote d’Ivoire. The latter has churned and sold many players to top European sides. The former has a huge financial turnover besides boasting of  sattelite television transmission.

 
For the record, these success stories did not just happen, they were made to happen. Sadly but not surprising,a more familiar story in Kenya is that of living from hand to mouth and waiting for tomorrow to take care of itself.

 
TIME FOR PARADIGM SHIFT
Gor, Leopards and others of their ilk need to change their modus operandi. Modern day football is big business and these clubs are no exception.As a matter of fact,they are big brands.What they need is the right people in the right places.

 

While at it, they need club houses that will act as nerve centres as well as archives to preserve their history. The era of operating from private suites or dinghy offices is long gone. The rest of the football world is on a forward march while we have stagnated.
Wake up and smell the coffee people!

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