A campaign aimed at transforming the sports industry in the country was launched on Tuesday.
The campaign, spearheaded by giant gaming firm SportPesa, is dubbed “Tujiamini” and seeks to maintain sports development as a national agenda for all stakeholders.
The initiative seeks to change the tides in Kenyan sports by inspiring young athletes to aim for the world stage in their disciplines and rally the public to believe in the sportsmen and women.
Speaking at the launch Tuesday in Nairobi, SportPesa chief executive officer Ronald Karauri said “no stone should be left unturned” in nurturing and ensuring the sports sector flourishes.
“Kenya has a proud sporting history. Our sporting greats have reached the pinnacle of success shattering world records and giving every citizen a reason to smile during competitions at the world stage. Are we as sports stakeholders doing enough to uphold this legacy?” posed Karauri.
“Everyone must play their role in setting the stage for the stars and starlets coming up after all the Kenyan heroes,” he added.
The event was attended by past and current sporting legends among them track legend Kipchoge Keino, rally ace Patrick Njiru, former international footballers Maurice Ochieng “Sonyi” and Mickey Weche as well as Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge.
The sporting legends lauded the initiative but called on more to be done to ensure that all sporting heroes and heroines are recognised for their efforts.
Keino challenged more corporates to come on board and support sports men and women achieve their full potential.
“The country is so much blessed with immense talent but there’s no one to nurture them, we need more to be done to help them achieve their dreams,” the legendary middle distance athlete said.
For his part, Weche challenged SportPesa not to end their sponsorship in Kenyan sports despite the government’s decision to impose a 35 per cent tax on net profits accrued by betting and gaming firms.
“I call on you to reach out to the President and talk through this issue so that you can continue supporting sports in the country,” he said.
SportPesa has pumped in an estimated Sh1 billion to Kenya’s sports industry through their various partnerships with Football Kenya Federation, Kenya Rugby Union, Kenyan Premier League, AFC Leopards, Gor Mahia, Nakuru AllStars and the Kenya Boxing Association.
The company has also come on board to kit the national women’s volleyball team, Malkia Strikers, who are currently taking part in the Africa Nations Championship n Yaoundé, Cameroon.