Four-time league champions Ulinzi Stars have signed a shirt sponsorship deal with Kenyan online betting firm Elitebet.
The deal, which is believed to be in the region of Sh10 million for the remainder of the 2017 season, was announced on Monday at a brief ceremony at the Department of Defense headquarters in Nairobi.
Kenya Defense Forces Football Association chairman Major Muthuri Kiugu said that all stops will be pulled to ensure that Ulinzi remain one of the best performing teams in the country.
“It gives me great pleasure to unveil this sponsorship. It is for me a confirmation that our good performance over the years is yielding fruit. I can assure you that we shall maintain this performance and achieve all the targets that we have set.
He added: “This partnership will definitely boost the morale of the players since the team’s logistical arrangements, especially during away games, will be well taken care of.
“We all know every member of the team is a soldier first. That means that we are a very disciplined side and I can assure you that all the funds will be put to good use.”
Elitebet Kenya Managing Director Waiyaki Hinga said that the contract was strictly performance based, and that they expected Ulinzi to finish in the top three positions in the league each season.
Said Hinga: “One of the core areas we have committed to is to cater for logistics and payment of bonuses. And you can see that these are very transient aspects which can change any time depending on which tournaments the team qualifies for and the locations of those tournaments. This is why we did not want to tie the sponsorship value down to a specific figure.
“Otherwise we are in this for the long haul because Ulinzi Stars is a club that shares our values and our beliefs. It is a national outfit and that is exactly what Elitebet is about,” he said.
Ulinzi had not had a sponsor since the end of June last year when their contract with South African oil and gas company Engen and African insurance company UAP Holdings lapsed.
June 06,2017 For a player to score an average of almost a goal a match immediately upon returning from a year out of active football is an outstanding achievement at this level.
That is the story of hot Ulinzi Stars striker Stephen Waruru who currently tops the SportPesa Premier League scorers’ charts with seven goals from nine matches.
The 26-year old spent the whole of 2015 as well as half of the 2016 season away on military duty, and only returned to active football in March this year.
He told Kpl.co.ke that while he would like to win the Golden Boot a second time, he is cautious about making that declaration this early in the season.
“I don’t like to talk about my personal goals, but I would like to win the Golden Boot. I would also like to win the SPL trophy with Ulinzi Stars but it is still too early to dream about that. The league is very competitive and it is difficult to predict what will happen in the coming months,” he said.
The explosive international won the league Golden Boot in 2011 with 12 goals scored for the soldiers. He is already half way through that tally in this year’s campaign .
Waruru, who is currently in residential training with Kenya in Machakos ahead of their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Sierra Leone on Saturday in Freetown, admitted that getting his form back after such a long lay-off wasn’t easy and like the soldier he is, he has had to work very hard, through sweat and pain.
“It’s been very tough. Remember that for close to two years I was not training. So when I came back it took so long for me to first get into shape, and then regain my form. I missed the last five games last season, and I didn’t even play in the CAF Confederation Cup. I missed the first games because I was not yet at full fitness.
“But I remember telling my colleagues that I would come back in the fourth match and score, and they laughed about it. Yet, when I was drafted onto the squad for the first time that is exactly what happened.
“I am not there yet. I know that I have to put in more effort and continue working hard. Seven goals in nine matches is not worth boasting about because the work of a striker is to score goals. “
He smiled and continued to talk: “Right now our target as a team is to stay within the top three positions, but winning the trophy will be a pleasant bonus for me and my mates. The league is quite competitive and there are any number of four, five teams that could win it, we included, but I do not want to start making any early predictions,” he said.