Communal ownership not helping Leopards anymore – Mule


(FILEAFC Leopards fans follow action against Nzoia United FC during their Kenyan Premier League match ...
(FILE)AFC Leopards fans follow action against Nzoia United FC during their Kenyan Premier League match at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on April 01, 2017. AFC Leopards SC won 2-1. Photo/Stafford Ondego/Sportpicha

In Summary

  • AFC Leopards chairman Dan Mule wants a rethink on the ownership of the club , noting that community based ownership has been the major reason for derailed growth.
  • Leopards, 12-time champions of the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) is owned by community members, mostly from the Western Kenya region where the founders came from.

AFC Leopards chairman Dan Mule wants a rethink on the ownership of the club , noting that community based ownership has been the major reason for derailed growth.

Leopards, 12-time champions of the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) is owned by community members, mostly from the Western Kenya region where the founders came from.

Although  community ownership aspect has been credited for a strong fan base for the side, Mule says there are milestones that may never be achieved under the same order.

“The problem is no one has the absolute say when a club is owned this way. At the same time none can invest their huge sums of money into the club if they don’t have a say in how to run it.

“We therefore need to make it a limited company entity so that shareholders can invest their money without fear, expecting returns after some time. That would not take away the identity of the club from the fans who have been supporting it, but only make it better in terms of financial stability and policy making,” Mule charged.

Emphasising his vision, Mule noted some divisions in the club will linger as long as everyone feels he or she has the right to push their own agenda based on community ownership status.

“We have witnessed a lot of divisions in the club for a long time. With a different arrangement where shareholders give the direction the club takes, these would be minimal or completely done out with. We have tabled big agenda for the club, including building a stadium and so on, but this cannot be realised when we are struggling to pay even players. With current sponsorship apathy in our Kenyan football, resources won’t come easily especially with this kind of ownership,” underscored the club principal.

Teddy Osok (C) of Sofapaka FC fights for ball with Victor Majid (L) and Whyvonne Isuza of AFC Leopards SC during their Kenyan Premier League match at the Kenyatta stadium in Machakos on June 13, 2018. AFC Leopards SC won 1-0. Photo/Stafford Ondego/Sportpicha
Teddy Osok (C) of Sofapaka FC fights for ball with Victor Majid (L) and Whyvonne Isuza of AFC Leopards SC during their Kenyan Premier League match at the Kenyatta stadium in Machakos on June 13, 2018. AFC Leopards SC won 1-0. Photo/Stafford Ondego/Sportpicha

His sentiments come at at time an opposition faction led by former co-chairman Matthews Opwora is accused of impersonation of officials for selfish gain.

Leopards has for over 20 years not won the KPL title, gradually fading the identity of a local football powerhouse.

Comparatively, a community owned Gor Mahia has thrived on the local scene with more organisation helping the 17-time KPL winners shine above their old rivals.

That has, however, not helped the club overcome financial struggles, limiting growth outside Kenyan boarders.

While recently born clubs within East Africa like Azam (Tanzania) can boast of a stadium and a fully furnished complex spread in over two acres, the local giants are far from achieving such a milestone.

(FILE)AFC Leopards Chairman Dan Mule. Photo/Stafford Ondego/Sportpicha
(FILE)AFC Leopards Chairman Dan Mule. Photo/Stafford Ondego/Sportpicha

Meanwhile, Mule has confirmed the new coach Nicola Kavazovic will add only four players in the current squad for the 2018/2019 season, saying he is comfortable with the team.

“We sent him videos and he was satisfied with most of our players. He assured us the team can do well with the right guidance. We will add one foreign goalkeeper, a centre back and two strikers as he suggested,” the chairman said.

On the narrative of coaches coming and going without any impact, Mule hopes the incoming coach will complete his term and probably extend his stay.

“He will be with us for initial two years. We allowed him to pick his assistant to ensure he is comfortable and technical bench decisions are made amicably. That way, everyone play  their part, we are sure he will do his job without issues,” concluded Mule.

Kavazovic has previously coached in Tajakhstan, Sri Lanka among others, and recently in Botswana where he handled Township Rollers.

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Story By Jacob Icia
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