Kenya Given Chance To Co-Sponsor The World Cup

The East Africa country is in the forefront to reap the windfall that is expected to pour when the World Cup is staged in the African continent for the first time.

Kenya is among two African countries that have been offered an opportunity to be a co-sponsor of next year's World Cup by South Africa's Local Organising Committee.

The proposal from the LOC was presented to Kenya recently in South Africa, though it requires that the country raises $50 million (Sh3.7 billion) in less than two months to take up the chance.

The steering committee for marketing of Kenya Stadia for the 2010 fete that was launched in September, 2009 is currently studying the proposal that is expected to be presented to the Prime Minister and Cabinet soon.

The chairman of Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and a member of the committee, Mike Macharia told Business Daily that the opportunity gives the country a good platform to sell itself and that the country has a lot to gain.

"This is a big opportunity that could see the country continue earning the benefits long after the fete."

Should the country raise the required money on time, Kenya will be able to showcase itself at the heart of the World Cup in 2010 through various channels, including what is being called "The Kenya House."

The Kenya House will be a meeting point for soccer fans, sponsors and the media during the World Cup that is to be put up in secure compounds in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town as well as selected overseas cities like Berlin, Paris and London, among others.

Kenya will promote its image across the world as well as show case business and investment opportunities, tourism, culture, food and beverage through various activities, including big screens and boards in the arenas as well as public viewing areas, press conferences, concerts and entertainment.

It will also be able to distribute information on the country through other platforms like the internet and mobile phones.

According to the proposal, the country will be given 27,000 World Cup tickets to sell. Ticket buyers have a chance of winning a safari.

Kenya Airways, which could be one of the beneficiaries of the deal, will offer domestic flights in South Africa.

The Kenya Stadia committee comprises people from both the public and private sector, including Kenya Airways, Kenya Wildlife Service, Media Owners' Association, Kenya Tourist Board and Brand Kenya, among others.

Its role is to market the country as a training venue for teams before they move to the host country.

Kenya is also aggressively looking at attracting at least two teams, including the South African national team, Bafana Bafana, to train in Kenya before the world soccer bonanza kicks off in June.

"Yes, we have met with them and they told us about trying to get the national team here," said Mr Thulani Nyembe, political counselor at the South Africa High Commission.

Kenya has managed to get Cameroon to train for the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations and later to visit for a friendly match before World Cup kicks off. The committee has also been meeting with the ambassadors of other qualified countries to sell the country.

The world cup will start on June 11, 2010 and run for a month. It is seen as a major opportunity for the continent to help build its image and economy through the many soccer fans who will attend the fete.

James Momanyi,