Kenyan footballer welcomes StarTimes, FKF broadcast deal

AFC Leopards player Harrison Mwendwa speaks to CGTN during an interview. (Photo: Gabriel Rotich/CGTN Africa)

Kenyan footballer Harrison Mwendwa welcomed the signing of a sponsorship agreement between Chinese Pay Television Company StarTimes and the country’s football federation.

Mwendwa, who plays for local giants AFC Leopards, said the timing of the deal to coincide with the start of the 2020/2021 Kenyan Premier League was a morale booster.

Mwendwa said this development will give ardent fans and those interested in following the league an opportunity to watch their teams play live given that current government regulations do not allow fans to attend matches due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are happy that our matches will be aired live. Not every match but, at least, every weekend there will be two or three matches being aired by StarTimes. That is something to be happy about,” Mwendwa told CGTN.

Football Kenya Federation President Nick Mwendwa (2nd L), StarTimes CEO Hanson Wang (2nd R) pose for photo in Nairobi, Kenya, on Nov. 26, 2020. (Xinhua)

Football matches in the East African country are generally poorly attended with the exception of those of a few clubs, particularly the nation’s two biggest clubs: Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards. Though clubs have fans, a number of them opt to go to pubs and restaurants and follow European football matches.

“Kenyans do not go to the stadiums to watch matches, maybe fans of Gor and AFC. We (AFC Leopards) are used to having fans, our fans can come watch us play,” the 26-year-old noted.

StarTimes CEO Hanson Wang said the company was committed to a mutually beneficial cooperation with FKF and football teams and players to help elevate the popular sport to a new level.

FKF President Nick Mwendwa praised the new partnership saying it will transform local football, ensure it is competitive and reward budding talent.

The KPL, currently known as the Betking Premier League for sponsorships, is scheduled to kick off on November 28.