Millions at stake as Cleo Malala Super Cup tournament kicks off with winners to bag a whopping Ksh3 million.
The Cleo Malala Super Cup is back bigger and better than ever, promising millions in prize money and a platform for budding talents to shine.
This year, the tournament has expanded its reach, bringing together teams from five counties in the former Western Province of Kenya.
The Mumias Sugar Sports Complex will be the battleground, as 48 teams prepare to showcase their skills in a five-day extravaganza that promises excitement, talent discovery, and the chance to win substantial cash rewards.
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In the past, the Cleo Malala Super Cup was an exclusive affair for teams from Kakamega County.
However, this year's edition has broadened its horizons, inviting contenders from Kakamega, Busia, Bungoma, Vihiga, and Trans Nzoia counties to vie for the prestigious title and a share of the Ksh3 million prize money.
One of the remarkable aspects of the Cleo Malala Super Cup is its track record of unearthing promising talents, with Kenya international Henry Meja being a shining example.
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Meja's journey from playing for Arsenal Lirhembe in 2019 to joining Football Kenya Federation Premier League (FKFPL) side Tusker FC and eventually making his way to the Swedish top-tier club AIK is a testament to the tournament's significance in nurturing local talents.
The tournament organizers are leaving no stone unturned in providing participants with a world-class experience.
Senator Cleophas Malala, the brains behind the Cleo Malala Super Cup, expressed their commitment to preparing the young talents for international trials.
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"We are giving you the experience to play under floodlights so that when you get a chance to go for trials abroad, you will not have problems as you will have experience in playing abroad," he explained.
The introduction of "Video Assistant Referee" (VAR) and large stadium screens will also enhance fair officiating and overall entertainment for fans.
The list of teams competing in this year's Cleo Malala Super Cup regional finals is impressive. Clubs like FC Bwake (Kabuchai), Giants FC (Teso North), Bossman Knights FC (Butula), The Warriors FC (Bumula), Box 14 Hotstars (Emuhaya), Kiminini United FC (Kiminini), Greenland FC (Lugari), Bwake FC Cherangany), Mbakalo FC (Tongaren), and Galacticos FC (Ikolomani) have fought their way to this stage.
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Others include Teens of Hope FC (Nambale), Classic Boys FC (Kimilili), Obucuun FC (Teso South), Mayenje Santos FC (Matayos), Misikhu United (Webuye West), and Solofa United FC (Matungu).
Winners of the tournament will now walk away with a cool Ksh3 million, a significant increase from the previous editions.
The runners-up will not be left empty-handed either, pocketing Ksh1.5 million, while the second runners-up will take home Ksh1 million.
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Even the fourth-placed team will receive a substantial Ksh500,000 reward. This upgraded prize structure reflects the tournament's commitment to recognizing and rewarding excellence on the field.
The Cleo Malala Super Cup has attracted scouts from prominent institutions such as the Kenya Sports Academy (KSA), FKF-PL, and National Super League clubs.