Millionaire businessman based in Dubai Ricardo Badoer has bought National Super League club Wazito FC, according to Business Today.
Wazito, who were relegated from the Kenyan Premier League last season, are now owned by Badoer Investments Ltd, the global investment conglomerate run by Ricardo, “a flamboyant football fanatic,” who became its president in October.
Ricardo has pledged to invest “a lot of money” in the club with an aim of making it “Africa’s most successful club.”
“We have already invested in good players and we are certain to win the NSL next year,” he told Business Today, a website he has also acquired interests in alongside Sumac Microfinance.
Wazito’s inability to keep their KPL status in their first season was partly because of lack of finances as the clubs struggled to meet their daily expenditure.
Ricardo also owns a fifth division team in Spain, C.D. Ursaria, which is expected to anchor African European co-operation which will involve exchange of staff, knowledge and players between the clubs.
He has big plans for Kenyan football, which include establishing a youth football academy to offer European standards training for children from age of 6 as well as a UEFA category 4 stadium.
He noted though that the current legal framework in Kenya is not attractive to investors.
“Lack of good structure makes it hard for investors. For example, according to the Sports Act the teams cannot be limited companies and this makes things a bit complicated when it comes to attracting new investors,” he said.
He said he would start a push for the law to be changed so clubs can be run like commercial entities as it is done in leading leagues like the EPL and La Liga.
Ricardo, who is in Kenya to check on his businesses, says he had constructive talks with Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, himself a football lover, and Deputy Minister William Ruto over the matter. “Mr Kuria is, as many Kenyans might know, crazy about football and passionate about youth. So he could help out to pushing for change in sports legislation,” says Ricardo.
Wazito FC was formed in 2011 by, among others, Solomon Alubala, who dreamt of playing professional football and owning a football club. Alubala teamed up with University of Nairobi alumni to provide football mentorship to university students and graduates.
In 2012, the club joined the fifth tier of Kenyan football ladder, the Nairobi County League and won it. It got promoted to the fourth tier the following year which it won to enter the third tier, where it finished second in 2014. It played in the second tier for three years before being promoted to KPL in 2018.
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