The reality of SuperSport's exit from Kenyan football is fast sinking in, days after the South African-owned company surprisingly pulled the plug on a lucrative broadcast rights deal with Kenyan Premier League Limited.
In a nutshell, the KPL is now set to miss out on an approximated Sh300 million annually, monies mainly channeled towards supporting the clubs that compete in the top flight and the game's administration. What's more, Kenyan footballers are now playing in the dark, in what is a stark contrast with the recent past, when the same player's talents were exhibited all over the continent on the Pay-TV platform.
Perhaps even worse than that, a reported 250 people, mostly the youth who had been employed by SuperSport, are set to lose their jobs. These include presenters, camera people, analysts, producers and other media-related personnel. Other contractors, such as drivers, cooks, security personnel, signal transmitters, stadium stewards have also lost considerable income.
Pulling Out? | SportPesa are also rumoured to be following SuperSport out of the door
Word also has it that the league's main sponsors (SportPesa) are considering pulling out, or at best renegotiating their deal with KPL, owing to the sudden loss of mileage offered when their games are on TV. While this is happening, Football Kenya Federation and Kenya Premier League Limited, both of whom are chiefly mandated to develop and market the game, are at loggerheads.
However, is there reason for optimism on the horizon?
FKF have already shown keen interest in bringing back SuperSport, but this can only be achieved if they work hand in hand with the government.
"We have resolved that it is in our interest and that of Kenyan football to have SuperSport back on air. As such the federation has moved with speed to engage SuperSport in a bid to remedy the situation and have the company rescind its decision to terminate contract with KPL," FKF President Nick Mwendwa told Goal recently.
"We have further made it clear to SuperSport that despite being the institution duly recognized to oversee all footballing activities in the country, we have not only delegated the mandate to commercially organise the top tier league to the KPL Limited until the year 2020, but are also willing to provide any warrants that might be required to demonstrate the same."
Meanwhile - and wait for this - the Government has maintained a steadfast silence in the midst of this crisis.
This despite a promise to create jobs upon assuming office back in 2013. Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario - a Presidential appointee, whose main job description is to ensure Kenya's interests in sports are well taken care of - is yet to utter a word.
Is it time for the government to step in? | Could CS Wario be the man to intervene?
By all indications, Wario is bomb proof.
One may even be excused for assuming that the senior Government official, who is accused of disconnecting from the extended sporting fraternity, and has, in the recent past, survived several attempts to hound him out of office, is not even aware of what's going on.
But again, this is not the ideal time for pointing fingers...there never is anyway!
As a matter of fact, our call is for the Government to immediately engage SuperSport and woo them into making a return. It's common knowledge, now more than ever, that Kenyan football needs SuperSport.
Over to you, Mr. Wario.