We have rich untapped young talent at grassroots

Ababu Namwamba and Anyang' Nyong'o

Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba (left) and Kisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong'o greet players during the opening football match of the Kenya Inter-County Sports and Cultural Association (KICOSCA) Games at the Kenyatta International Stadium in Kisumu County on January 16, 2023.

Photo credit: Tonny Omondi | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Players passing through such systems have passion, commitment and pursue personal development.
  • Clubs which have continued dominating club football have followed this model, with their players dominating national team squads.

Scouting and nurturing young talents should be a primary responsibility for every county government for the growth of Kenyan football.

Most clubs that are doing well the world over have robust academies where young payers are moulded.  

Players passing through such systems have passion, commitment and pursue personal development.

Clubs which have continued dominating club football have followed this model, with their players dominating national team squads.

Some examples are Barcelona, Real Madrid, Ajax Amsterdam, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea.

Kenyan giants AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia produced some of the country’s best football stars in the 70s and 80s, thanks to the rivalry between schools in western Kenya and Nyanza regions.

Kakamega High School, Musingu High School  and Mukumu Boys fed players to AFC, while Gor Mahia relied on talent from Kisumu Day and other teams.

Motcom of Kakamega and Kisumu Hotstars, too ,supplied the big two with players.

Youth centres

When Germany manager Bernard Zgoll set up youth centres in Kenya in 1972, the country was enriched by generations of stars who played for top clubs and the national team Harambee Stars which controlled regional football for years.

But the scouting level went down after the academies collapsed, and today we have coaches who are selfish with no vision for our youths.

Players from these youth centres graduated to join top clubs in and around Kakamega, Nakuru, Mombasa, Nairobi and Kisumu.

They would them move on to AFC Leopards, Gor Mahia and Kenya Breweries (now Tusker FC).

AFC Leopards won the East and Central Africa Club championships three times in a row between 1982 and 1984.

Sadly, today, there is a tendency to concentrate scouting of players in Nairobi.

Therefore, an initiative by former Kenyan international Washington Muhanji and his peers to start nurturing talent in Kakamega under Elijah Lidonde Foundation is a noble idea.

Since Motcom was disbanded in 1996, football-mad Kakamega has been deprived of joy.

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