By Eric Odhiambo

If cash were no object for you, what would you spend it on?

Move to opulent Dubai? Buy a beach mansion in the party frenzy resort of Marbella or Ibiza? Get a fleet of yachts in the tax haven of Monaco principality? Run for the office of Governor in your home province? Engage in massive philanthropic activities? Spend a world-record fee on bringing the unsettled Lionel Messi to your football club?

For many football enthusiasts ‘buying a football club’ would be among our top answers. Almost three years ago, Ricardo Badoer did exactly that. He bought a financially struggling Wazito Football Club which was on its way to relegation. After a summer of recruitment backed by Badoer Investments, the team earned promotion back to the Kenyan Premier League by winning the NSL 2018/2019.

Buoyed by the team’s promotion to the KPL 2019/2020 season, Ricardo opened his purse strings with a string of marquee signings to help the team compete with the big boys in the league. While immediate success was not translated onto the pitch, in hindsight, it has served as an important lesson heading into the new season.

This summer’s ongoing recruitment may well be Wazito’s most eye-catching since Ricardo’s ship docked on these shores. In comes a new sporting director and his wit has charmed Fidel Origa, Kevin Kimani, Maurice Ojwang, Vincent Oburu, and Bonface Omondi to Wazito Football Club and away from prying eyes before other sporting directors and CEOs could swallow their pints, clear their throats, and make advances to the aforementioned players in the transfer market.

Badoer’s spending is not restricted within Wazito’s dressing room. A state-of-the-art Madgoat TV studio is due for completion sooner than later. In a little while, you’ll be watching all Wazito matches and a host of other fantastic sporting action on your free-to-air decoder. The Wazito Football Stadium remains in the pipeline, and hopefully, when Covid19 restrictions will be lifted, actual work can be started.

Most importantly, Ricardo’s latest splurge has noteworthy implications for Fred Ambani and his assistant Salim Babu. They have been gifted an easel; wooden frame for holding an artist’s work while being drawn or painted, a new set of painting brushes, and gold leaf-infused paint. Now we all expect art that we can fuss and purr over. Are they geared up to paint that wonderful and successful football art that Ricardo so adores? I strongly believe they are more than capable but the jury is still out.

‘In cherry-picking young, quality and excitingly coveted players across the country, Wazito Football Club is adopting a new sustainable strategy following unfruitful year last season’ asserted Wazito CEO Dennis Gicheru in an interview with Madgoat TV. In the end, there’s no disputing the fact that Rico’s influence on Kenyan football is worth mentioning now as it ever has been. The Ricardo Empire has fresh recruits; a perfect blend of young and experienced, success-hungry, and viral talent. I can’t wait for the league to begin, can you?

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