Football Kenya Federation is operating on a budget deficit running into tens of millions even as gaming firm Betin have come on board as the senior national team’s financial partners.
Betin, a global gaming firm, on Tuesday announced a Sh20 million partnership with the federation that will see them remit Sh15 million towards national team preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations set for June in Egypt and Sh5 million to cater for the team’s kits.
The news is a huge boost for the cash-strapped federation, which has been in dire need of sponsorship, to prepare the national teams for international assignments.
FKF president Nick Mwendwa, whose office tabled a budget of Sh244 million for Harambee Stars' Afcon preparations , however said that that they require a lot more money to cover the national team assignments as well as allowances for players dating back to last year.
“I am happy and I thank Betin for choosing us as their first partners. This is just the beginning of things to come and we are hopeful that the sponsorship will be fruitful for both parties.
“National team assignments are an expensive affair. The Sh244 million covers only the bare minimum costs for Afcon. There is also the national Olympics team that is taking part in qualifiers, there is also the final Afcon qualifying match against Ghana next week as well as winning bonuses and allowances, which we are yet to agree with the playing unit. All these are expenses that are outside the budget we’ve so far requested from government,” he said.
The Betin sponsorship comes at a time when Kenya has qualified for the continental showpiece for the first time in 15 years, and will involve kiting the national team and local branding.
The company will also conduct marketing activations around the national team during the duration of the Afcon period.
They will, however, not be allowed to have any presence during actual Afcon matches due to restrictive rules set by tournament organisers Caf, who have a pre-existing contract with another gaming firm betting firm 1XBet.
Meanwhile, Harambee Stars are set to report to camp on Sunday next week in readiness for the final qualifying match away to Black Stars of Ghana set for March 23 in Accra.
Kenya top Group F on seven points, one ahead of Ghana, who will be out to avenge the shock 1-0 defeat they suffered in the second round qualifiers in September last year in Nairobi.
Stars coach Sebastian Migne will be without the services of lead striker Micheal Olunga against Ghana. In his stead, the Frenchman has called up Zesco United striker Jesse Were.
Olunga, who currently plies his trade at Japan second-tier club Kashiwa Reysol, got injured in a league match last weekend and has been ruled out of competitive action for three weeks.
The 24 year-old has been the most influential player in the national team, scoring against Sierra Leone and Ethiopia.
The team is set to pitch a three-week camp in France ahead of the continental showpiece.