Julius Ochiel released his ‘blueprint’ in the Weekly Citizen edition of February 7-13, 2011 at page 9. Ingwe Fan has an analysis of the contents. We have already analysed the Magelo blue print. We are yet to see the Winstone Kituyi blueprint with a few days left to the elections. Ingwe Fan is still undecided on whom to vote for in the elections.
RETURNING INGWE TO THE TOP
Time Has Come
Having delivered on my pledge made in Dec 2009 in guiding the club to enact a new constitution and securing the 15 million Mumias Sponsorship, I look forward to accomplish the following in the coming days as Chairman of Leopards “Ingwe”.
Whilst the incumbent is congratulated for having led negotiations that led to the sponsorship deal with Mumias Sugar, knowing that a weak financial base has been the thorn in Leopards flesh for the last ten years or so, there are still queries that persist about the deal with Mumias. What sort of sponsor are they? Are they shirt sponsors or are they more than that. Mumias has been wielding the big stick at Leopards as if they are not getting something in return (advertising space on our chests) to the extent that they even issue cheques directly to players according to the Chair. Don’t they trust our office to account for this or what is the reason for this state of affairs? Recently, the controlling Mumias Sugar even called a meeting where the modalities under which the election is being held were issued. Hopefully, the situation of MSC will be clarified so that it is clear that we are equal partners! Unfortunately, some fans have even suggested that Mumias should be controlling even our gate collections. Surely this will be elevating Mumias Sugar to a big brother status! Or even worse. A sugar mummy.
On the constitution, the enactment of a constitution was never really a priority. Instead, amendments to sections of the constitution was. We have to wait and pass judgment on this thorny issue of the constitution after we see how whoever wins elections applies it.
1. Lift KPL title in 2011, reach finals of CECAFA in 2013, and compete in CAF finals by 2014. The team I have put together this season is worth the task. “Yes We Can”
Every team, and particularly, AFC Leopards exists for the purpose of winning trophies. So lifting the KPL title should be a natural goal. What matters most is the strategy that he will employ to achieve that goal. There also seems to be no 2012 goal in this pledge or even the retention of the League title in 2012 and 2013.
2. Sponsorship of 15M from MSC is a good start but I will ensure to build on this to a 30M sponsorship by 2012 and 35M for the year 2013, way above the projection in our current deal with MSC. Discussion for additional corporate sponsors is ongoing.
Sounds good and achievable but does not answer the questions posed earlier about the current deal. Details should be publicized to avoid confusion. If additional corporate sponsors are ongoing, then they are ongoing on the capacity of the team not on the capacity of the individual and if elections didn’t go the way of the Chair, he should b willing to hand over al the details to he incoming Chair. Is he the kind of person to do that?
3. Target to sell at least two players abroad by end of 2011 to earn AFC Leopards funds.
Leopards as a feeder team is both an advantage and a disadvantage. It may be advantageous as we may get some transfer fees but the disadvantage is that it may weaken our team. It is not clear if the Chairman has any plans to link the team with a specific team in Europe for instance so that the players can move there once they are ready to move. If Leopards sells players it has not developed, it may lose out on development fee on subsequent transfers. Selling players as a fund raising strategy should be achievable. But if we cant even pay players that were under contract such as Webo and Gentle, how do we then have ambitious plans such as there?
4. Tap and nature (sic) talent in our home base by running Ingwe County leagues in each of the five counties of Western Kenya between April and October of each year. The top teams in each of the counties will then compete in a tournament dubbed “Ingwe Cup” in which the main team will participate in December of every year in Western Province. This will guarantee us quality players to be absorbed by the main team and others placed in other premier league teams on loan to earn Leopards extra revenue. The first year the tournament will be open to all age then restricted to under 18 in subsequent years. The best thirty out of the tournament, will form our Under 18 team. Good talent from other regions shall be considered. “Is this not a noble idea?”
Frankly, this is a terrible idea for the club and not a noble idea at all. It smirks of a political idea. If the Club doesn’t have structures in place, doesn’t have even its own office, how can it start organizing events such as the proposed one.
Further, the idea that only players whop play in the Ingwe Cup will be transfer targets isn’t informed by logic. This year alone, we signed many players from established teams. We chased Paul Were of Tusker, we chased after Ibrahim Kitawi of Gor Mahia and so on. I think the team should explore the idea of having feeder teams like in the days past when Motcom and Imara were feeder teams who could develop some of our players. But using a tournament to gauge god players is getting it wrong like Safaricom with their crazy Sakata idea.
Like we commented on the Magelo blue print, the idea of having a youth team or an Under 18 team sounds nice but that is all. It isn’t viable. Most kids who are Under 18 are in school. They play secondary school soccer for teams such as Green Commandoes, Chesamisi, Mombasa High, Ofafa Jericho, Gosetta, St. Anthony’s, Sirakaru and so on. Trying to be a poor imitation of such quality teams isn’t the way to go. Instead, establish good contacts with these schools and monitor players who play there so they could join the club.
Lastly, whilst the club has roots in Western Kenya, the point blank posturing to Counties in Western is quite sad when teams such as Gor even try to play some matches in Thika.
5. To establish an “Ingwe Shop” to sell club merchandise which will be run by the club sales and marketing department. AFC members will be the investors in this venture and at the end of each quarter of the year, profits split between the club and investors on a 50:50 basis. You are welcome to invest and you will grow with ‘Ingwe” in a 20M potential project.
Ingwe Shop idea is great. Implementation not so great. Leopards’ fans are not necessarily fans for purposes of making profits from themselves (since they are the same ones who will buy the merchandise). How will the fans invest when most of them are merely individuals who do not have any registered entity such as a Union or Trust to make investment decisions? Like we say, the idea is great but not very well thought out.
6. Engage a strategic partner to run a year long calendar of Ingwe Nites in all major towns of Kenya. Purpose is to enhance unity among AFC fans and also raise extra revenue for the club.
Since this is an event that targets fans, it should really be a fan initiative rather than a club initiative. I would prefer someone who looks at Ingwe Nites as a forum for fans to get together and have fun together rather than as a money making scheme. Further, Ingwe Nites were held last year. How much revenue did they yield?
7. Identify and publish to members a list of clubs and recreation centers across the country that wish to be associated and branded in AFRC colours and logos. Such joints will enjoy the attraction of AFC fans. A fee shall be charged to the branded venues therefore earning the club extra revenue.
Possible but unnecessary. No marks.
8. Player exit plan will be put in place by providing guiding and counselling programs that will see most of our players undertake professional studies and or entrepreneur skills when not in training to guarantee them a soft landing at the end of the playing careers.
More posturing. I would prefer a scenario where Leopards is a fully fledged professional outfit rather than a team that still tells players that they need to undertake ‘professional studies’. We have heard outlandish ideas in the past, such as Voltaire Kegode suggesting that players of Leopards go to slash grass at the UN Complex so that they emulate environment conscious Mathare United. In the end, if Leopards was a professional team, it would pay its layers well, they would have a culture to save and even have a Retirement Benefits Scheme as part of their benefits so they can move on when they leave the club.
If the Chair is thinking about the players who have left the team in he past and are reported to be in dire straits, then a social welfare wing should be factored in for them. But this is an idea that only sounds good on paper. Watch this space. Between the scrimmages of the players on he field let us see when players will be going back to class to be taught carpentry and the like. Absolutely ridiculous!
9. Branch Network – Establish a strong branch network across the country and outside the country with the intention of tapping further financial support for the club.
Again, the Chair gets it wrong. Branch networks should be primarily for fan participation not as a money making venture. The branches of Leopards have operated informally and illegally and have in most cases been a mere hoax by the Officials to show they have support from all over. I wish this could have been explained better by Ochiel rather than this statement about wanting to tap ‘further financial support for the club’.
10. Put in place a comprehensive medical cover for the players and technical bench.
Excellent idea! This should be implemented IMMEDIATELY if it has not been done yet. Premiums should have been factored into the budget for the team this year.
11. Own our own training ground by 2012 and own stadium by 2015.
Again, sounds good on paper but this is a goal not a strategy. Building a stadium is not child’s play unless we are talking about stadiums such as Hope Centre in Kawangware which are a shame to say the least. Or getting some space in Mlolongo or if you have been watching the news, the stadium in Tatu City!
Here is a wild suggestion that I would have liked to hear: Currently negotiating with Jamhuri Park to use the arena and sign a long term lease that will involve the team training at the pitch and using the pitch as its home ground after it has been renovated. Plan to call its INGO STADIUM (sorry about that!) and it will also host some Ingwe Shops to sell merchandise. The ASK has agreed to also lease some of its buildings for purposes of refreshments for fans.
I said wild idea! But at least an idea that can be worked on instead of giving a four year deadline to owning a stadium when the term in office would have expired in 2014, if the term is ging to be three years.
12. Start AFC Woman (sic) team by end of 2011.
So that I don’t offend Maureen, I would say great idea! But perhaps not a priority. You first take great care of the men’s team and if there is surplus, we can have a women’s team. But a good idea nonetheless and hopefully one that can one day see the light of day.
13. Operationalize all arms of the secretariat especially the marketing wing and finance management.
Coming from an incumbent, this is very ridiculous, Ochiel has been in office for over one year. The club doesn’t have its own offices yet so the secretariat is ‘housed’ in a come we stay relationship with another organization. Firstly, we need our own office, the least the Mumias Sugar money can do is get an office. Secondly, positions such as these for the secretariat should be advertised so that the Executive Committee considers the applications and gets the best quality. But are you likely to hear that one? Never.
14. Buy and Own our own bus and van by end of 2011.
Achievable. But what will be the strategic plan on this? Gate collections? Fund raising? We wait to see. With a definite time line, this is one of those election pledges that can be held to the candidate.
15. Adopt a strategic plan on the above by April 2011.
For progress, development and stability.
Not sure about the stability tag. Ochiel has come across as a forceful Chairman and has disagreed with his Secretary General Asembo. He is more visible that the Secretariat. However, give it to the man. There are some developments people! We have Mumias Sugar on board and the recruitment done this year... actually, let us wait on that until the League kicks off so we can know if he was a hit or a miss!