Betting firm, SportPesa have confirmed that the earlier announced return leg friendly between AllStars and Hull City is still on despite the former English Premier League side dropping to the second tier.
“Plans for the almost forgotten affair are underway with the re-match set to be played in Nairobi on a date to be announced later,” assured SportPesa Chief Executive Officer, Ronald Karauri during All Stars luncheon after jetting in from Spain, where they featured in two friendly build-up matches. Kenya lost 2-1 in the opening leg against Hull City away last February. “I can confirm the Hull return match will happen sooner as plans to host them are in the Pipeline,” he noted.
Meanwhile, the SportPesa boss expressed hope that the company will rescind their decision to withdraw funding from various sporting activities in the country if the government reviews the proposed 35% tax imposed to betting firms. “I am so positive we are here to stay if the Government will revise the proposed 35% tax imposed to the betting firms in the country. I call upon the government to partner with us in achieving our dream of making it to the 2022 World Cup,” he added.
The tour of Spain is part of the initiative by the betting giants to develop and support sports in the country. Under Harambee Stars head coach Stanley Okumbi, All Stars played two friendly matches against La Liga Division Two sides, Cordoba and Atletico Sevilla, but lost both matches to their hosts 4-0 and 1-0 respectively.
According to Okumbi, the tour was a learning curve for the players who aspire to play professional in future.
He said their hosts have world class facilities and have met football powerhouse duo of Barcelona and Real Madrid previously hence have a very formidable approach.
“Their teams have played together for long as opposed to our side which had only three training sessions. Their facilities are also good and we couldn’t just beat them in our situation. I can say we learnt a lot from the first game and used some of the lessons to play the second, where we lost with a slimmer margin. We did a fantastic job against Atletico Sevilla where we leaked in a single goal. The experience gained in Spain will be of great significance in the Chan Championships, the Premier League and to the players in general,” said Okumbi.
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa called for all stakeholders to partner with the federation in working towards achieving the objective of developing football in the country.
“These tours are arranged so as to develop football in the country for the good of the national team. In Spain, the team played against sides which take football professionally. I plead to stakeholders to partner so as to build a strong national team.”