Safaricom cancels Sakata Ball launch

Safaricom cancelled the launch of its eagerly anticipated Safaricom Sakata Ball Season 3 which was scheduled to take place today.

Safaricom says this follows a last minute move by the national football governing body, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) to impose new requirements on the running of the event through a letter to event organisers, dated 30 May 2012. 

In its letter to Safaricom, the FKF demanded to be paid 20% of the total sponsorship cost of the Sakata Ball tournament as administration fees half of which was to be paid prior to its launch, failing which it would disown the event.

Expressing disappointment over the turn of events, Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore said: “We have been holding discussions with FKF for the last four months and we have written commitments from them expressing their support for this event and our contribution to local football development generally including the possibility of sponsoring FKF leagues in future.

It is therefore a painful decision for us to cancel the launch, but a necessary one in the context of the unreasonable demands that have been placed on us.”

The Safaricom Sakata Ball Challenge was first launched in 2010 as a boys’ only tournament. In 2011, the tournament incorporated girls’ teams becoming the only football youth tournament in the country to do so. During the same year, Safaricom Limited entered into a partnership with the UNICEF sponsored National Youth Talent Academy. Today, ex-Sakata players comprise 90% of the U 20 girls’ football team while others like Abdi Malik have played for both the U-20 team and Harambee Stars.

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