Thousands of slum dwellers on Tuesday morning, graced chilly weather to witness the colorful launch of the 9th edition of ‘Amani Kibera’ peace soccer tournament dubbed ‘Ukabila ni ujinga, uzalendo ni hekima’ at ‘kwa DC’ grounds in Kibra Constituency, Nairobi County.
The community based organization brought together 79 teams from 12 Counties across the country for a five day football extravaganza that is scheduled to end on Saturday 3rd December, finals to be held at Olympic primary school.
An excited Joseph Odhiambo, overseeing the event as a sports coordinator thought that this year’s event had a low turnout.
“Nairobi County has produced 64 teams only, this year with 1,500 players and coaches while the other 15 teams came from 11Counties.
I expected at least a hundred teams, because as the hosts we should lead by example. Of course it’s a large number but we are well prepared to see this through,” said Odhiambo.
The event, also inclusive of girl and boy child life skills training saw 50 coaches attending the morning three hour in class training.
This routine is expected to be repeated every day of the five days that the tournament will be held. “ It is very important to focus on developing the youth from grassroots level, I believe with proper infrastructure and training measures, these coaches will streamline the information to the target audience,” Ben Ooko, Director Amani Kibera emphasized the message that was later echoed by Jacob Onyango Aduda, program officer NACADA Nairobi region.
The 78 teams from 12 Counties will involve both males and females who will play at ‘kwa DC’ grounds, ligi Ndogo grounds, Undugu grounds and Olympic primary school.
Olympic Primary School will play host for a five day boys residential camp while Olympic Secondary School will do the same for the girls.
The boys teams will play under categories of under 11, 13, 17 and senior which is an open age category while the ladies will only participate in under 16 and the open age category.
Winners will be announced at the closing ceremony on Saturday 3rd December. For both boys and girls teams, except for the open age category, both winners of boys and girls will get a set of uniforms, ball and a trophy.
Second runners up will get bibs, a ball and a trophy while the third placed team will have cones, a ball and a trophy.
The seniors which is an open age category, will have cash awards and other sporting equipment. 15,000 Kenya shillings will go to the winners, second runners up will pocket 10,000 Kenya shillings only and third runners up 5,000 Kenya shillings only.
Counties that sent teams to honor fixtures to be played in fields occupying Africa’s largest slum will be Nairobi, Kwale, Naivasha, Trans-Nzoia, Kajiado, Thika, Busia, Nyanza, Wajir, Kiambu, Kakamega and Mombasa County.
The launch was presided over much appraisal from dignitaries such as Tausi Mohammed sports officer Kibra district representing the county of Nairobi, Professor Gitile Naituli commissioner for National Cohesion and Integration Commission, vice minister of Polish ministry of foreign affairs Mrs. Joanna Wronecka and Jacob Onyango Aduda, program officer NACADA Nairobi region.
The event will close its doors on Saturday 3rd December at Olympic Primary School with Harambee stars players, skipper Jerim Onyango who is the Gor Mahia fc custodian and former Tusker fc top scorer Jesse Were, now with Zambian giants Zesco united are expected to drive their respective teams to the finals. #
Both players were born and raised in Kibra slums where their careers were nurtured by local clubs and coaches and now will have an opportunity to return the favor by playing football where it all first begun.