Newly elected Nairobi Polo Club chair Fred Kambo admits there is need to package the sport as an attractive proposition and market it to potential corporate sponsors in the country.
Kambo bemoaned that polo has not attracted as much corporate sponsors as other sports disciplines despite its prestigious status and unique selling point.
“It’s a pity…we are actually saying it is a pity because Kenyan polo has not been supported that much by the corporate sector. Perhaps, there is the argument to be made that we have not done much in terms of outreach. For us , that is our aim…we want to see much more corporates involved because polo is an amazing sport. It gives them (corporates) high visibility…it helps with what they are trying to achieve from a corporate point of view,” Kambo said.
Kambo has just taken the reins at East Africa’s oldest polo club, succeeding Raphael Nzomo who he deputised in the past two seasons.
Apart from pulling corporate sponsors towards the sport, Kambo says his administration will also provide more opportunities for interested players to join the game and grow the sport.
“For us, we have two key things we want to achieve. One, is to see more players joining the game and that is not only for Nairobi but also from a Kenya Polo Association point of view. We anticipate that we will have more new players coming in and that is a big thing for us,” he said.
Kambo added: “Secondly, for the players based in Nairobi…and this is a bit selfish from me…we want to see more of them improving on their handicap. We want to see better players and higher handicapped players coming from Nairobi.”
The chair divulged that the club has put in place a multi-pronged strategy to improve the standards of play, including collaborations with international teams.
“We want to see more international higher-handicapped players coming to Nairobi to help with schooling our horses but also training our players here. We are also open to upcountry players who want to come and play with those from Nairobi because we think the better handicapped our players are, the better for us,” Kambo said.
He added: “We really want to see more in terms of partnerships with other countries. Currently, we are very close to Zambia…we are very close to South Africa and the United Kingdom, who’s our governing body for Kenya Polo. But, we are anticipating partnerships with more places like the Americas and more Asian countries.”
The club is preparing to host the Horseman Cup along Ngong Road over the weekend and Kambo says this is just a tip of the iceberg, that is a series of competitions lined up this season.
“We are having internationals…in fact the next weekend we have the Zambia ladies team coming to play in Nairobi so that is part of what you will see happening here. In September, we also have another international match. It is always a tradition to have at least one international playing in Nairobi in September. Just to stress, this is all part of the Kenya Polo Association setup,” he said.
The association was on Tuesday afternoon boosted by a Ksh 3.9 million sponsorship by SBM Bank, which will go towards the logistics for various competitions lined up this season.
Speaking after unveiling the package, SBM Bank Kenya deputy CEO Jotham Mutoka said the institution is honoured to associate with the sport of kings, expressing their desire to help grow the sport.
“We are looking at this as part of the development of the polo game. SBM Bank is dedicated to growing the local communities in areas that we operate and culture and sports is one of those areas that we focus on. We have supported other games but this time we are looking at polo,” Mutoka said.
He promised that they will try to encourage as many of their workforce as possible to embrace the sport.
“We are hoping that with this partnership, we will be able to push this game to as many people as possible…especially those who come to spectate and develop interest in the sport. As an entity, we are looking to encourage our customers and our members of staff to develop interest in the sport,” he said.
On his part, Kambo described the sponsorship as a timely boost that will enable them pursue their objectives to take polo to another level.