The month of December has been awash with super cups in every corner of Kenya but they rarely discover and nurture talent as their sponsors claim
Since the start of December, there have been super cups in nearly every constituency in Kenya.
The tournaments are mostly sponsored by politicians, both sitting and aspiring, with the aim of ‘discovering and nurturing’ grassroots talent.
A host of village teams then compete for a week or five days after which a winner is crowned with the prize money ranging between Ksh100,000 and Ksh3 million, mostly given in cash.
The super cups are hugely popular and attract lots of fans as residents of the various areas easily identify with the players and teams.
However, a look at how the tournaments are designed leaves many wondering if they really discover and nurture talent.
Given the most advanced academies in the world invest resources and time for years before a player is fit to compete at the highest level, how does a one-week of five-day tournament nurture talent?
Few players, if any, in the FKF Premier League or Harambee Stars can trace their roots from the December super cups.
This is because after the tournament ends, the players and teams retreat to their villages and nothing is heard of them again until the following year when they return for the next super cup.
These are, therefore, just feel-good tournaments which are used to gain political mileage for their sponsors while providing entertainment to the fans.
They should not be disguised as talent discovering and nurturing hubs since very little of this actually happens.
If the sponsors of the super cups were serious about nurturing talent, then it should be a long-term project with structures that will allow the teams to keep churning out talent while the players have avenues to benefit from their craft.
But since this is an expensive affair that needs resources, commitment, planning and professionalism, the architects of the super cups prefer shortcuts as it serves a certain purpose.
The tournaments are rightly exploiting a gap in the country since the lack of academies that can give opportunities to talented players and appetite for grassroots football among fans means they are easily swayed by politicians who dangle cash incentives.
The truth, however, is that the massive talent that grace these tournaments go to waste after the event and that is why they should be designed for entertainment and not pegged on nurturing it.