Kenya: High stakes at the 2020 edition of the Simba Premier League

Kenya U19

If all goes according to plan especially in terms of health regulations the 2020 edition of the ‘Pink Tank T20’ has got big offers for players. With the region starved of cricket due to the global pandemic the organisers of the annual Simba Premier League are taking extra measures to make sure the tournament can run next month.

The annual event that is usually a family affair that has been reinvented into a franchise league to try and hold the event within health regulations. One of the organisers of the tournament Peter Ongondo explained the change in format to Emerging Cricket:

“We changed from club and age group because of Covid because we could not control kids and parents…at the same time (the) tournament had already been sponsored so we thought controlling seniors easier than doing away with the second edition”.

Embed from Getty Images

Kenya’s Peter Ongondo during his playing days

The change in playing format has meant the creation six franchise teams; Amboseli Hirani Telkom captained by Kamande, Kilimanjaro Daman Ganga led by Maurice Ouma, Mara Texas Alarms led by Rushab Patel, Kenya Captain Shem Ngoche leads Samburu Prime Tanks, Serengeti Dezo Construction led by Elijah Otieno and Nelson Odhiambo’s Tsavo Glory Hotels.

The tournament will also attract players from neighbouring Uganda and Tanzania (pending the lifting of travel restrictions). Ongondo elaborated on how this would work out with the foreign players:

“We are working with government on the guidelines for the foreign players and once that is sorted we should have them here. We are committing to taking care of their travel, accommodation and match allowances”.

The organisers are also planning allowances for the local players of at least 4,000 shs (USD3.70) per game something that will be very appreciated by the players considering that they have not been earning due to the ban on all sports activities due to the Covid Pandemic.

The winners will pocket Sh300,000 ($2,777), with runners-up going home Sh150,000 ($1,389) richer. Player of the match in each game will get Sh5,000 ($46).

Ongondo explains how they will be able to meet the cost of the expenses:

“We have been fortune to have sponsors on board who have helped leverage most of this cost especially our main sponsors Pink Tank. We have also secured our broadcasting rights for streaming this will be an additional revenue stream for us”.

The tournament is organised by the Mombasa Simba Cricket Academy that is run by former Kenyan internationals Thomas Odoyo, Peter Ongondo, Jimmy Kamande and Tom Mboya.

The tournament is scheduled to run from September 10th to 19th at the Ruaraka Sports Club in Nairobi. With all plans in place, the organisers are hoping they can get the green light from the government for them to be able to run on schedule.

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