How the Leopard Walked into a Trap

In a story that looks straight from the children’s bookstore, AFC Leopards’ is in a tight corner. The club is named after a big cat that rarely finds itself in such a situation but for Ingwe, things do not look spotty on and off the playing field. The 5-1 drubbing of SoNy Sugar FC was like a break from a snare. This came after former club chairman and Webuye Member of Parliament Alfred Sambu stepped in to pull one paw of a besieged big cat from the grip of the snare. They had lost or drew most of the matches this season.

In a story that looks straight from the children’s bookstore, AFC Leopards’ is in a tight corner. The club is named after a big cat that rarely finds itself in such a situation but for Ingwe, things do not look spotty on and off the playing field. The 5-1 drubbing of SoNy Sugar FC was like a break from a snare. This came after former club chairman and Webuye Member of Parliament Alfred Sambu stepped in to pull one paw of a besieged big cat from the grip of the snare. They had lost or drew most of the matches this season.

Politicians for Technocrats 

To find out how Ingwe ended up in this tight corner, you have to look at the leadership. Trouble started at the den when Allan Kasavuli’s team was elected ahead of former vice chairman and acting club chairman, Dr. Walter Onyino.  Kasavuli is a business man while Onyino is a technocrat at Central bank of Kenya. On Kasavuli’s team is one George Aladwa, a Nairobi politician as Secretary General.

The club members went ahead to elect Rachael Shebesh (Nairobi Women Representative), Tim Wanyonyi (Westlands MP) and Dr Chris Wamalwa (Kiminini MP) un-opposed as trustees. The good thing is the election despite being full of drama was peaceful.

Dr. Onyino worked under Alex ole Magelo as chairman. Word has it that KPL employees were at home working with Magelo because he never investigated things. If they wanted Leopards to agree to a decision, they called Magelo. The opposite was true for Onyino, as a technocrat, he would ask questions and ask for more time to deliberate and read fine prints. Alex ole Magelo is a politician and the current Nairobi County Assembly speaker.

Replacing Onyino with Aladwa was another grave mistake. Here is a man who had lost in the elections to be a member of parliament. He was after a platform to remain relevant as he prepares for the next general elections. Aladwa is a great mobilize and a good consensus builder, this is evident because despite being a school dropout, he rose to become the last Mayor of Nairobi. What Aladwa lacks is administrative and managerial skills, and the current state of Ingwe proves that.

The trustees despite being respectable men and woman are also politicians. Their role would work well if the right people were in the executive committee of the club. So far, they have not spoken on the myriad of issues affecting the club. This calls for a review of the kind of people to be elected as trustees. They can easily use their positions to highlight the plight and bring people who can offer solutions on board but that is yet to happen.

The former team managed to bring on board Mumias Sugar as sponsor. They even initiated Ingwe TV project that died immediately they left office. Things were not perfect but their time in office saw Ingwe get back to the road to reclaim its former glory. 

Currently players are owed salaries and allowances. Reports are all over of players missing training and threatening not to honour a fixture. To add salt to injury, Mumias Sugar is in the red, and sponsoring a football club is not viable at the moment. The situation needs more of creativity than political acumen to get AFC Leopard out of this trap it walked into.

The biggest problem with most of our clubs is lack of visionary leadership. The balance between the short and long term needs with the fans desire for silverware. If the Leopard is drenched, then the rains started beating him the day he chose politicians rather than reliable technocrats as the people to watch over it. May the Ingwe fans realize their mistake and work out a way to make amends.

@stuttistician

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