Sports CS Namwamba has lauded Kenya’s U17 and U20 teams selected during the Talanta Hela U19 Inter-County tournament as he feels they will lift Harambee Stars in the near future
Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba is thrilled by the Kenya U17 and U20 teams selected during the Talanta Hela U19 Inter-County football tournament.
Ninety talented boys and girls were selected after being scouted by Kenyan football legends with 50 U17 (25 boys and as many girls) and 40 U20 (20 boys and as many girls) following the conclusion of the tournament whose finals were played on Jamhuri Day.
The teams are set for an elite training camp at the MICFootball - International Young Football Tournament in Spain next spring and their progression gives Namwamba hope that the future of Kenyan football is bright as the country targets impressive performances at the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations as well as qualification for the 2030 World Cup.
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Mulee insists Namwamba’s previous incumbents did not do a good job in charge of the Sports Ministry, adding that he has done a tremendous job in his one year in charge.
“Am delighted that the talent progression pipeline we have established right from the school ecosystem, through the Talanta Hela U19 Inter-County Football Tournament is bearing fruits, even faster than anticipated,” Namwamba said on social media.
“We have teams that genuinely reflect the face of Kenya, identified fairly, openly, and competitively from the grassroots across the length and breadth of our country, from Todonyang in the North to Loitoktok in the South, Bamba in the East to Budalangi in the West. Bottom-Up.”
The CS says Kenya will take seriously future global and continental tournaments so that the talents unearthed have a big platform to showcase their skills.
“As we prepare these teams for elite training camp and the MICFootball - International Young Football Tournament in Spain next spring, we will continue to give a chance to other deserving talents domiciled both in Kenya and abroad,” he added.
“We must be deliberate intentional and structured in building strong teams for national duty. As part of this long-term masterplan, Kenya will contest all future U17 and U20 World Cup qualifiers starting 2024. We are determined to build a formidable Harambee Stars for the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations that we are co-hosting, and the 2030 World Cup.”
Tusker coach Robert Matano, Kenya Police assistant Salim Babu, former Harambee Stars coach Stanley Okumbi, ex-national team players Musa Otieno and Allan Wanga were among the scouts who identified the players.
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The government also invited scouts from Nastic Sports Academy in Spain, where Kenyan sensations Aldrine Kibet, Amos Wanjala and Alvin Kasavuli are based, as well as Florida-based Monteverde Academy, home to teenage striker Louis Ingavi.
The U20 teams have been invited to play exhibition matches against Busia County U20 Combined on January 2, 2024.