To kibera Black Stars,
I am writing this article to inspire you not to let the team fall apart because of sponsorship issues.
As a former Kenyan footballer I have experienced such or worse situation while playing in the Premier League.
It was in 2005 while featuring for World Hope Fc now Nairobi City Stars when suddenly our Sponsor who was the Church World Hope International withdrew their support for the team saying that they had run out of cash.
As a team led by our able Coach Robert Matano we sat together and decided to stick together since we were playing in the FKF Cup then known as the Presidents Cup knowing if we win the tournament we will attract a sponsor.
We had a quarter final match away at Chemeli Sugar and we didn’t have enough funds to help us travel to Muhoroni.
Hussein Mohammed the then Extreme Sports CEO was contacted by one of our officials and he gave us a visit and spoke to us.
He asked us how much we had to honor the match and we told him we didn’t have any amount since we had not been paid for months.
He gave us a dress down that we I will never forget, hii mambo yakutaka kusaidiwa na unasema hauna chochote lazima iishe, mnataka aje kusaidiwa na hamna chochote, he reprimanded us.
He gave us Ksh 40,000 for the trip and the rest we were to get from our own source.
Luckily for us we had a friend who used to carry us on a daily basis nicknamed Kamwana and we became good friends that he even got the contract to ferry the team on away matches. We approached Kamwana and as a team we promised to contribute the other bit of the amount from the amount that we were owed by our sponsor the church.
He accepted to that and we travelled to Muhoroni and played Chemelil.
The match was abandoned after the referee tried to favor our opponent and there was violence leading to the match being called off.
The match was replayed in a NUETRAL Ground in Nakuru and we won by 2-1.
We qualified for the semi where we went through on away goal rule after drawing away 1-1 in Western Kenya against Mumias and playing a goalless draw in Nairobi. We met Tusker in the final and won the match and that is how our Sponsor came back to the team.
Before even our sponsors came back we had already secured a sponsor who I understood was Hussein Mohammed who wanted to invest in our team.
That determination helped us win the Confederation Cup a fete that looked impossible to achieve looking at the challenges we had.
We got an opportunity to represent the country in Caf Confederation Cup and up to now the team exists because of the sacrifices we made.
There are a lot of challenges in the game but know that if you are determined nothing is impossible.
To Kenya Footballers welfare association lead by my former team mate James Situma who we were together in that Journey please let’s unite and encourage the boys not to give up.