Fresh off setting a new African record when he clocked 9.77 to finish second behind American Trayvon Bromell at the Absa Kip Keino Classic on September 18, 100m sprint sensation Ferdinand Omanyala has parted ways with his erstwhile management team – DBA Africa and legal representatives Sno Legal.
Potential sponsors and sports management teams are lining up for his signature with Omanyala expected to return to action in March 2022. Omanyala has set his sights high for the new athletics season and is aiming to run a sub 9.70s time in the 100m.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, September 29, sports and entertainment law firm Sno Legal which had been representing Omanyala confirmed that they no longer had the sprinter as a client.
“SNOLEGAL Sports & Entertainment Law provided him (Omanyala) with Legal, Reputation Management, Intellectual Property Management, PR and Communications services up until 7th September, 2021 when we made a unilateral decision to cease representing him and we have not been involved in his decision-making since then,” the statement read in part.
The law firm further stated that it understood “when it’s time to leave in order to allow our former client the space to grow and take charge of his own destiny”.
DBA Africa is a leading sports management company with several top Kenyan athletes under its stable including Rugby 7s stars Alvin Otieno and Billy Odhiambo. The firm announced its termination of Omanyala’s contract on Monday, September 27, highlighting his achievements and wishing him the best in a short statement.
The announcement immediately raised eyebrows for two major reasons. First, Omanyala signed a two-year contract with DBA in February 2021, meaning that his exit from the stable comes before the expiry of his contract.
Second, why on earth would a sports management company part ways with arguably the biggest name on their roster just when he is becoming one of the country’s most adored sportsmen, with the potential to become a global superstar if his record-breaking times in 2021 are anything to go by.
According to Omanyala, he actually stopped working with DBA in May because ‘the management company is not registered with World Athletics’. Notably, Omanyala was around the same time pushing to have his 10.01 time (then a Kenyan record) which he clocked at the MoC Grand Prix in Lagos, Nigeria on March 30 ratified by Athletics Kenya (AK) which maintained that the event was unsanctioned.
DBA, on the other hand, stated that they chose to part ways with Omanyala as the 25-year-old University of Nairobi student failed to ‘uphold the core values’ of the organization.
“The core values of DBA Africa are hugely important and must be upheld by all involved within the company. Unfortunately if our athletes do not maintain our same values at all times, we are no longer able to work successfully together.”
“As you can imagine, to terminate a contract when the athlete is in his prime and performing on the world stage, speaks volumes about how important we feel it is to protect our brand and the professional image we proudly share with the sporting world,” DBA Africa Director Storm Trentham told Nation.
Omanyala wore DBA-branded gear in a number of races, and the firm facilitated his expenses as he lined up for various races to achieve Olympic qualifying times.
In spite of the behind-the-scenes drama, however, Omanyala remains one of the hottest prospects in Kenyan sports and there is no shortage of potential corporate sponsors and management teams keen on working with him ahead of the next season.
At present, he is the eighth fastest man in history over 100m. Bromell who bested him at the Kip Keino Classic has the fastest time in the world this year. In 2021, Omanyala has defeated some of the biggest names in athletics including Justin Gatlin and Yohan Blake.
In a nutshell, he has all the ingredients to be Kenya’s very own Usain Bolt – a sprint demon and global marketing goldmine rolled into one.
Sources within Odibets intimated to Business Today that the betting firm which has supported Omanyala over the past year was considering upgrading their status in his career to become the sprinter’s main sponsor.
Odibets has supported Omanyala with various rewards for his performances this season, and capped it by gifting Omanyala a brand new Toyota Harrier with the custom number plate ‘977’ after his heroics at the Kip Keino Classic.