Nairobi News

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How soccer is changing lives

That Kenya, like the rest of Africa,  has a huge football fan base is no secret.

Many people throng stadia or pubs to watch their favourite teams and players in action.

Although our national team, Harambee Stars, does not fair very well in international assignments, Kenya boast its own premier league which has managed to grow talent that continues to attract attention of foreign clubs. Victor Wanyama, Dennis Oliech and McDonald Mariga are a testimony to this.

Although Kenya is known the world over for its athletics prowess, football is more popular in spite of the country’s low ranking by Fifa.

Ironically, the rowdy nature of Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards fans is what has contributed greatly to the popularity of the sport.

That aside, the football economy is growing in Kenya. Besides the huge fan base, companies have invested heavily in the Premier League teams through sponsorship.

The endorsement received by clubs has gone miles in aiding them financially.

The local football industry has come a long way and entrepreneurs have not let go the chance to make money from it.

Football jersey dealers continue to make a kill.

“The price of a jersey ranges from Sh1,500 to Sh3,000. It depends on the club’s popularity,” said John Muchoki, a retailer in the city.

He added that European clubs’ jerseys are more popular. Traders also get creative by making merchandise like T-shirts, scarfs, hats, wrist bands and sunglasses.

However, one  needs to get the rights to use the club’s logo.

Betting companies have also not been left out in the football craze. Fans place bets on games that are to be played in the course of the day.

The Gaming International sales manager Lilian Nyagaki said they allow people to place bets on local and international games.

The bet ticket price starts from as low as Sh100. In a day, Gaming International makes sales of around 1,500 to 2,000 tickets. Again, European matches are more popular.

“It is the football season in Europe and we are seeing an increase in the number of daily bets unlike June to August,” said Ms Nyagaki.

The sport betting company started in December 2011 and has grown tremendously.