Nick Mwendwa reveals plan to adopt European youth football structure in Kenya

© Nick Mwendwa (Facebook)

FOOTBALL Nick Mwendwa reveals plan to adopt European youth football structure in Kenya

Mark Kinyanjui 07:08 - 21.03.2024

FKF president Nick Mwendwa has announced plans to implement a full-time youth team naming policy following the naming of the current Rising Stars squad.

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa has announced a significant shift in Kenya's youth football strategy, revealing plans to implement a full-time junior team naming policy.

This decision comes as the Kenya U20 side, Rising Stars prepares to embark on the Four Nations Tournament alongside the senior national team, Harambee Stars, in Malawi.

The tournament, featuring four nations, provides an invaluable opportunity for the U20 team to gain international experience and exposure.

Mwendwa emphasized the importance of aligning the youth team's schedule with that of the senior team, drawing inspiration from European footballing models.

"In Europe, especially UEFA, whenever the senior team is playing, the U19s, U21s, and even U20s play the day before or after," Mwendwa explained. "We want to adopt this format because we are very serious about development."

The move underscores Kenya's commitment to nurturing young talent and fostering a cohesive development pathway from the grassroots to the senior level. 

Mwendwa credited the collaborative efforts between FKF and the Ministry of Sports for enabling this strategic shift, appearing to aim digs at previous regimes for failing to invest in youth football.

"We have been wanting to do this but could not do it before because we did not have the right investment," Mwendwa noted. "Now, with the cooperation we have between ourselves and the ministry, this is possible."

Highlighting the depth of talent within Kenya's youth development pipeline, Mwendwa expressed optimism about the long-term impact of the new policy. 

He emphasized the potential for a significant number of players in the development pipeline to eventually represent Harambee Stars, contributing to the nation's footballing success.

"When you look at the pitch now, there are about 60 boys in the development pipeline who can all play for Harambee Stars," Mwendwa remarked.

"Among them, maybe 11 will play for the side in five or six years, and I think that is the best thing that can happen in terms of football development."

As Kenya embraces this proactive approach to youth football development, Mwendwa's vision aims to establish a sustainable framework for nurturing talent and ensuring a seamless transition from youth to senior-level football. 

The implementation of a full-time youth team naming policy marks a significant step forward in Kenya's quest to elevate its footballing stature on the global stage.

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