What you need to know:
- NMG’s Lead Editor (Sports and Integrated Projects) Elias Makori, who represented NMG at the finals at Nanyuki Stadium, lamented over the low budgetary allocation county governments accorded sports.
- “I am appealing to the governors across the country to allocate enough resources for sports and talent development in their annual budgets.
- “You will notice that devolved units allocate a paltry sum which is hardly adequate to run sports programmes,” said Makori.
After over 600 matches played across the county’s 15 wards, the curtain finally fell on the Laikipia County Governor’s Cup at the weekend, with Segera FC and Barcelona Ladies winning the men’s and women’s titles at Nanyuki Stadium.
The two-month-long tournament attracted 33 teams - 307 men’s and 28 women’s – across the 15 wards with a total of 666 matches played from the ward level to the final.
Nation Media Group was among the main sponsors of the tournament initiated by Laikipia Governor Joshua Irungu, with Second Lady Dorcas Rigathi the chief guest at Saturday’s well-attended finals.
NMG made a donation of the winner’s trophy, kits and tracksuits to the Laikipia County Government executive team that held Nation FC to a 3-3 draw in an exhibition match late on Saturday.
The Deputy President’s spouse sat patiently through the two finals, later confessing that she had been bitten by the football bug, promising to sponsor another tournament in the county over the next three months.
“I feel that this is something we should reciprocate across the 47 counties so that one day we have a national championship,” she said, adding that she will lead by example by sponsoring the three-month tournament in Laikipia.
“It is important to grow the youths’ talent and get them out of drugs and frustrations. You have been a witness that when they are active, they do not indulge in societal vices,” she said.
Segera FC, from Segera ward, defeated Ngobit ward’s Bridge Commandos FC 3-1, while in the women’s final Igwamiti ward based Barcelona Ladies floored Nanyuki Starlets 2-0.
Interestingly, Segera earned three penalties in the match, losing two, the first one in as early as in the 25th minute when Lonald Kiroku sent a skier over the bar.
But Segera went ahead in the 32nd minute when striker John Lokai tapped an assist from Kelvin Kagiri before Valeria Isuza scored through a penalty in the 70th and Samson Lenabaala made the game safe in the 80th minute.
In the women's final, Nyahururu-based Barcelona FC denied the home team Nanyuki Starlets glory by flooring them 2-0 with the impressive Jane Njeri (25th minute) and Mercy Kendi (80th) the scorers.
In an exhibition match, Nation FC, who travelled from Nairobi, drew 3-3 with Laikipia County Executive team in a match that saw Laikipia Deputy Governor Reuben Kamuri alongside Sports and Trade CEC Stephen Biwott Kisorio showcase their footballing skills in the high-quality match.
The first edition of the Governor’s Cup was played in 2016 during the first tenure of Governor Irungu but it faded away when he lost the seat to Ndiritu Muriithi.
The objective of the tournament is to nurture and develop talents as well as help the youth realize their talents from the grass root level.
Segera took home a Sh500,000 cash award as second-placed Bridge Commandos pocketed Sh300,000 from the county government while the women’s champions Barcelona FC received Sh200,000 and Nanyuki Starlet got Sh150,000.
However, the Chief Guest, Second Lady Dorcas Rigathi, said she would top up the cash awards to ensure the women’s tournament champions took home as much as the men’s winners.
In addition, the county government awarded Sh100,000 to all the ward winners during Saturday’s ceremony.
NMG’s Lead Editor (Sports and Integrated Projects) Elias Makori, who represented NMG at the finals at Nanyuki Stadium, lamented over the low budgetary allocation county governments accorded sports.
“I am appealing to the governors across the country to allocate enough resources for sports and talent development in their annual budgets.
“You will notice that devolved units allocate a paltry sum which is hardly adequate to run sports programmes,” said Makori.