By Clinton Lusuli:
What are some of the reasons as to why the Kenyan Premier League Matches attract fewer fans comparison to High School Games?
Over time this has been a question by many. We have witnessed Kenya Secondary School games attracting large fan numbers, a different case from the Kenyan top-tier league. The Green Commandos of Kakamega, St. Anthony’s Boys Kitale and Kisumu Day ranking high among the case studies. The games have been witnessed to attract large fan numbers all the way from Ward levels to National levels with some fans traveling into the East African School Games with their teams.
The Kenyan Premier League has been seen to attract few fans apart from the Mashemeji derby that witnesses fan attendance close to that seen in high school games. Below are some of the sentiments as to why.
“Most of our stadia are located far from the team’s fanbases, for example, Kariobangi Sharks playing in Kariobangi will attract more fans as compared to it playing in Kasarani. This gives the fans a touch with their team and will foster them to also travel away with the same team when it’s playing away from home. Just like Kakamega High School at Bukhungu Stadium will have more fans whether free or payable same to Kisumu Day in Moi Stadium and St Anthony in Kitale. Ofafa Jericho at Camp Toyoyo just to mention a few.” ~ Nyakwar Nyogande
“Talents in School games are exciting. They have been, they are and will always be exciting to watch” ~ Collins Lusweti
“There is a lot of passion during Schoool Games unlike Club Football since a lot of players in the league focus on the paycheck. Also, fans feel more represented with school games out of that community touch. The joy of supporting ‘Shule ya Mtaani’ is second to none. Fans want to have that form of attachment to their team more of like ownership” ~ Okello Meshack
“The level of competition is very high. A good example is Kakamega County where the competition is stiff all the way from the Ward level up the ladder” ~ Moses Chesire
“People travel too wide to watch school games. 2017 I traveled all the way from Kakamega to Nyeri, 2018 I was in Eldoret and last year was in Kisumu. It’s even more expensive but we go because of the passion of the game.” ~ Feliqs Santi
“You remember the Bukembe guy who cycled from Bungoma to Lodwar? (Pesa tunaanza kuspend from County Finals up to Nationals)…fuel/transport costs, accommodation, food and refreshments. Even if gate payment is introduced we will plan ourselves.” ~ Toni Jonanga
“It’s because of community attachment to a school. Do you know that a sub-county final attracts as many as 15000 fans and a KPL match between a club like Sofapaka and Tusker may only attract journalists? The main reason is that in KPL there are more company teams than community teams if a team that is well financially like Tusker can rename itself; example to Meru FC and then they decide to relocate itself to Meru I think they will attract more fans. Then KPL should have many community teams like Gor Mahia and AFC ” ~ Kelvin Fraser
“I have traveled from Sega, Siaya County, to Mombasa, Nyeri, Machakos, Kisumu to watch National Ball games. I’m sure a lot others do, the issue isn’t about free entry, but entertainment. These students play better and are always out to impress ” ~ Nicolas Otieno
“Bring the Mashemeji derby to Kisumu or Kakamega and see the magic ” ~ Duro Boscho