NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 7 – On August 7, 2019, cash-strapped SoNy Sugar signed what they thought would be a fortune-changing sponsorship deal with Hong Kong based company Quantdragon, but just two months down the line, the so-called sponsors have disappeared without a trace.
So dire is the financial situation at the South Nyanza based team that they failed to honor their home game against AFC Leopards over the weekend, handing Ingwe three free points.
“It was going to be difficult for us because the requirements of hosting AFC are expensive. We had already used up our own funds to facilitate the first four games of the season with the hope that the sponsors would deposit money,” SoNy chairman Gabriel Otiende told Capital Sport.
The company was supposed to pay the club 28,400 USD (Sh2.9mn) a month for the next one year, with the first payment expected on August 15. From then, they were supposed to be depositing money to the club’s account on the 30th of every month.
But since the inking of the deal in Awendo, not even a cent has fallen into SoNy’s account.
“At first they had told us that there was a problem on their end with the accountant and promised to pay the money at the end of the month. (August 30). When that time came, they had their stories again until they stopped responding communication and disappeared. We have not heard from them since then,” Otiende further added.
Quantdragon is said to be a sister company to Sofapaka’s second sponsor Living 3D and interestingly, sources intimate that the latter have also disappeared on Batoto ba Mungu without dropping a coin into their coffers.
According to a deal signed by the club and Living 3D, they were supposed to source for five foreign players and a foreign coach and cater for all their needs from salaries and housing, and would profit a certain percentage in case of a future sale.
“They have disappeared on the club and are not even responding to calls or emails. They have not even deposited any money to the club as promised,” a source close to Sofapaka told Capital Sports.
The disappearance of Living 3D now consequently puts head coach Divaldo Alves’s future at the club at risk alongside the five Ugandans they signed, including keeper Isma Watenga and forward Peter Lwassa who have emerged as strong starters in the team.
Living 3D was supposed to complement the financial injection by betting form Betika and help the club get back to its financial feet after years of struggling.
But, while Sofapaka have a bounce back plan in Betika, Sony are without a fall back and according to Otiende, if no one comes up to help them, they might be forced to disband the team.
“The company (SoNy Sugar) is not doing well currently and it will be difficult to get help from them. We have knocked on a few doors here and there and I am hopeful that in the next two weeks, we can get something. We will not lose hope,” Otiende noted.
SoNy’s next game is an away trip to Nairobi against Tusker FC and the fact that they couldn’t honor a match at home makes the possibility of them travelling away even tougher.
“At the moment, the most important thing for us is feeding the players and making sure they are okay. At least the company has provided housing so they don’t worry about rent or water and electricity. If we can’t pay them, the least we can do is ensure they eat,” the club chair further added.
Head coach James Nandwa has admitted that it has been tough getting the team going amidst the financial difficulties but just like his chairman is hopeful that a solution will be found.
“Things are tougher now because the league doesn’t have a sponsor. It was a bit manageable when SuperSport were there because at least we were assured of some grant monthly that would help us here and there. But now, there is nothing coming in from KPL. If the government doesn’t step in and help clubs, then I am afraid we will face a very tough season,” Otiende further stated.
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