Harambee stars have landed a Ksh 20 million sponsorship deal with local betting firm Betin Kenya ahead of their 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) campaign. Football Kenya Federation (FKF) officially announced the deal on Tuesday.
The government has also allocated some budget to helping the team grace the AFCON 2019. The government has allocated Ksh 244 million that is reportedly inclusive of the Deputy President William Ruto’s pledge of Ksh 50 million.
The partnership with Betin will help in the team’s campaign in the continental tournament by giving them everything they might need. The team qualified for the tourney with financial troubles as at some point, they had troubles travelling to honour away fixtures. They had to travel in two batches to play against Ethiopia in Bahir Dar, they managed a goalless draw in the fixture.
Harambee Stars’ main problem has been finances as the team has on very many occasions had trouble honouring fixtures. In the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, Stars comfortably won against Cape Verde at home but failed to emulate the same results away as the team had had problems making it to Cape Verde. The team only arrived at Cape Verde a few hours to the match.
Harambee Stars have received sponsorships before, which all seem to have helped the team a great deal. In 2013, when the country was playing in the World Cup qualifiers, they got a sponsorship deal with Crown Beverages that saw the company supply water for the team’s training sessions and matches. A few days after the deal, Harambee Stars won against Namibia in the Brazil 2014 qualifier.
Of the Ksh 20 million they have received from Betin Kenya, Ksh 5 million is set to go into the purchase of the national team’s kits and fans replica jerseys.
FKF will hopefully now have money to fully support the team. Stars have not played in the AFCON for 15 years and will be hoping to make a statement at the continental tournament this year.
Speaking at the event, FKF boss Nick Mwendwa said that former Stars player McDonald Mariga being the ambassador for Betin will help motivate the players ahead of the continental tourney.
“We are happy to be partnering with Betin at this time when we are preparing to grace the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in 15 years,” said Mwendwa.
“With Mariga (McDonald) being an icon of Kenyan football and Betin brand ambassador, this is a huge thing for us and the national team. We are happy to welcome BetIn to the family and we thank them for finding value to come on board especially for the Cup of Nations,” he added.
Harambee Stars qualified for the AFCON by winning matches against Ghana and Ethiopia at home and securing a draw against the latter in the away clash. Kenya is yet to play away at Ghana as the clash is slated for 23rd March. They were also favoured by the decision of the Bureau of the FIFA Council to suspend the Sierra LeoneFootball Association (SLFA) over claims of government interference.
Japanese side, Kashiwa Reysol and Harambee Stars striker Michael Olunga will not be up for selection for the coming AFCON qualifier against football giants, Ghana.
Kenya currently tops the table with seven points, followed by Ghana at six and Ethiopia one points. Even if they lose in the return leg, they are assured of position two in the group and hence qualification though finishing top will better their chances in Egypt.
As Kenya awaits for the Ghana fixture, the team has been preparing for both the fixture and the tournament that is to come.
AFCON will prove to be a big stage for Harambee stars and a good performance in the tournament will mean that Kenyan football is destined for even greener pastures.
A three-week camp has also been lined up in France, in May, before Stars head to Egypt for the tourney.