JEFF KINYANJUI

By JEFF KINYANJUI
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Only four rounds of matches have been played so far but the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) 2019/20 season could soon come to a halt due to financial challenges.

KPL CEO Jack Oguda on Friday told Nation Sport several teams have officially requested to stop honouring matches until the situation is sorted.

Gaming firm SportPesa, the official sponsor of the league, cancelled all sports sponsorships in the country recently after the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) declined to renew their operating license. The ripple effects have been felt in the league itself and directly to the clubs that have been depending on financial grants from KPL.

Nation Sport understands that referees have not been paid since the league started and the KPL itself is barely surviving with employees going unpaid for the past four months. Oguda said that they have had to convince most teams to honour matches this weekend.

“We have held meetings with prospective sponsors but we are yet to seal any deal for the league. It is a very big challenge especially for the teams that have no sponsorship and depend on the KPL grants to cover their logistics,” Oguda told Nation Sport.

“This weekend’s matches will go on despite the fact that some teams have officially told us it is impossible for them to honour the games. We have told them to hold on and play just this weekend as we look for a solution next week. We could be forced to halt the league until the financial challenges are fixed but that really is a decision to be made by the Governing Council that will have a seating early next week.”

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Earlier last week, Gor Mahia players went on a go slow ahead of their league match against KCB at Machakos demanding salaries and allowances from August.

On Wednesday AFC Leopards players refused to train ahead of their game against Sony Sugar on Saturday afternoon. They too have not been paid salaries and allowances for two months. Sony Sugar’s staggering Sh34 million per season sponsorship from Quantdragon Limited, a company that presented itself as a Hong Kong-based IT firm, has turned out to be a white elephant with no single cent deposited into the Awendo-based club since the deal was announced in August.

Meanwhile, nine matches have been scheduled as the league enters round five.

Chemelil Sugar v Kariobangi Sharks – 2 pm – Chemelil

Mathare United v Wazito – 3 pm – Kasarani

Sony Sugar v AFC Leopards – 1 pm – Awendo

Western Stima v Ulinzi Stars – 2 pm – Mumias

KCB v Nzoia Sugar – 3 pm – Machakos

Sofapaka v Bandari – 3 pm – Machakos (Live)

Gor Mahia v Zoo – 3 pm – Nakuru

Kakamega Homeboys v Tusker – 3 pm – Bukhungu

Posta Rangers v Kisumu AllStars – 3 pm – Machakos

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