President Uhuru Kenyatta move to extend measures aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19, including a ban on mass gatherings, by thirty days has spelt more doom for community clubs like Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards.
Against high expectations from majority Kenyans, who hoped the Head of State would fully open up the economy, Mr Kenyatta, while giving more weight to health reasons, extended the lock down measures on Saturday.
The decision further dashed hopes of the Kenyan Premier League resuming and community clubs cashing in on gate collection, their main source of income, to pay players.
Sporting activities were amongst the first casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic as they were halted in March to help curb person to person spread of the deadly virus.
The decision exacerbated an already bad situation for the two giants of Kenyan football, who were brandishing begging bowls even before the economy was shut.
Gor Mahia for example had gone up to four months without paying salaries, a situation Leopards players also suffered, and with no hope of football returning before September things can only get more severe.
For close to two seasons now Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards have operated from hand to mouth without a title sponsor, the Coronavirus pandemic was thus going to hit them the hardest.
To survive this turbulent period, Gor Mahia have turned to fans to donate whatever little they have towards players’ upkeep.
“I always trust our fans, no doubt about that, and whatever amount they will raise will go a long way in solving our current problems,” said Chirman Ambrose Rachier.
“However, I must be sincere – they will be doing their best but their best cannot be enough because not many of them have good earnings and you cannot blame them,” he added.
The players got a reprieve last month when the government announced KPL players would receive Kshs 10,000 per player for the next three months as part of Coronavirus support program.
But for players who earned much more by playing this is a drop in the ocean.