Disgust at football mismanagement proves fans want change…
The 2019/2020 KPL season will go down as the driest in recent times from a sporting and financial point of view for the majority of clubs. With no official league sponsor, clubs have been reduced to beggars, several walkovers have been dished out, players are barely surviving having gone for months without salaries and bonuses, match-fixing has entrenched its ugly head in our beautiful game among myriad other vices. While the majority agree the footballing situation in the country isn’t as good, the extent to which it has irked people appears to differ from not much at all to entirely and fully. One person who has stood head and shoulders high above the mediocrity is Wazito FC president Ricardo Badoer.
Ask anyone about Ricardo in the Kenyan football scene and the response you’ll get is that he’s the ‘feisty Wazito FC owner who doesn’t mince his words on twitter when it comes to giving his opinion on football professionalism in Kenya. He is not all talk and no action, instead he’s actually put his money where his mouth is ever since he landed on these shores.
- No pay cuts despite Covid-19 turmoil
When companies across the world are tightening their purse strings due to COVID-19 outbreak, Mr. Ricardo has stuck to his words of not effecting pay cuts to employees of both Wazito FC and MGTV. Having been brought up eating tomatoes and rice for weeks due to poverty, he understands the ravages of economic uncertainty and stands in solidarity with his employees.
- East African League
Plans are underway to bring into fruition a prestigious East African League comprising of at least 10 professional, elite clubs from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. The league will attract a plethora of sponsors and top footballing talent from the region and abroad, and in effect improve the quality of East African football.
To actualize the East African League, sports infrastructure is mandatory. Plans are on course to build at least 2 stadiums in Kenya. The Wazito FC stadium will comprise of a:
- 5000 capacity (all seated)
- 1300 VIP seats
- 4000 M2 clubhouse
- Mercedes Benz Bus
Within months after coming onboard, Mr. Ricardo gifted Wazito FC with a state of the art Mercedes Benz worth Kshs 12 million. The bus mirrors the team’s status as a professional and prestigious club. The bus has continued to facilitate convenient transportation for the players to training as well as on match days.
- Health Insurance
Kenya football scene is littered with many stories of footballers who got injured on club duty and failed to receive proper health care because most of the clubs have no health insurance policies for their playing unit. Thanks to Mr. Ricardo, Wazito FC is an outlier. All players enjoy full year comprehensive health insurance from AAR.
Wazito FC CEO says: ‘We talk to him a lot, and Mr. Badoer’s passion for football and for Wazito Football Club for the last 2 years has not waned; instead it’s greater than before. When an individual invests millions into a football club, he does not just walk away from it. It is long-term. It is about wanting Wazito to achieve success on all fronts-on the pitch and as a business.’
In conclusion football is big business and Mr. Ricardo is showing how well to run a professional sports entity. If football continues with mismanagement, it won’t survive. It won’t be sustained. Total collapse is imminent. Shall we follow suit with professionalism in our respective clubs? For the good of the beautiful game.