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The chair and his new team took office at a time the club was facing huge financial problems especially when their sponsor left

AFC Leopards chairman Dan Shikanda has explained what saved the club from going down in a difficult 2019/20 season.

Ingwe were forced to depend on fundraisers and well-wishers to honour their games after SportPesa walked away as their sponsor.

Shikanda had been elected into office just before the financial turmoil began and he says the lean office enabled them to make quick decisions that ended up helping the club.

“When I got into this office after I think 26 days, our sponsor walked away. I actually found a shell of a club and after recruiting players, my wage bill jumped to about KSh4.3M per month,” Shikanda told Bonga Futaa Online TV.

“We sat down and looked at ourselves in the eyes and asked the difficult questions; what can we do now?

“Should we throw in the towel because the demands were just too much? The leaner management helped us especially because the decision-making process was quicker and it was easy to agree. It really saved me.

“We did not have time for politics, we had to come with ways of helping AFC Leopards honour all matches and not give away walkovers.”

The former Gor Mahia and Ingwe player also criticised views held by the majority of Kenyans who are yet to see football as a professional occupation.

“The problem with our culture is it treats football as a hobby, not as a professional undertaking. I think many people see footballers as failures and ones who have nothing to do after failing in various fields,” he added.

“But for heaven sake, football is the biggest industry in the world.

“When you look at football as a hobby, as something where people who do not have anything to do reside and without a constructive goal then we are losing the plot.”

The chair also spoke about his long-term vision he would like to implement in order to help the club in the long run even after he exits office.

“AFC Leopards is a work in progress now and what I know is that the club does not have physical structures even way back during my playing time,” Shikanda explained.

“In a nutshell, what I need to do is to put in place structures so that we can have a professional football club. We cannot call ourselves a professional club, established in 1964, and we have nothing to show about football whatsoever.

“We do not have our own field to train, but at least now we have a physical office, although I need to set up a motion in place of having our own stadium. 

“Lack of structures made things hard for this club and when fans react, they think you are part of the problem.”

Unlike their KPL rivals, AFC Leopards have not made public any of the new signings although they have unveiled their 2020/21 home kit.

 

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September 27, 2020
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