NAIROBI, Kenya May 23 – The excitement among 60 local youth coaches was eminent as they gathered at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies on Monday morning ahead of a week-long coaching clinic organised by Premier League sponsors SportPesa in conjunction with English Premier League side Arsenal.
This is one of the elements of a five-year contract between SportPesa the North London club as their official betting partners in Africa.
Three coaches, Paul Drew Tyler, Mohamed Moaz Awadelkarim and Rupen Shah will be in the country imparting their skills from the Arsenal school of knowledge with Tatiana Elagila coordinating the clinic on behalf of the English Premier League giants.
“I am really excited. We always knew that Arsenal was a huge team here in Kenya but I didn’t visualise it to be this big. There’s so much we can offer in terms of skill and the Arsenal philosophy and I am really looking forward to working with these enthusiastic coaches,” Elagila told Capital Sports as she prepared to handle the first class session.
SportPesa CEO Ronald Karauri said this was only one of the many partnerships the company would be undertaking with Arsenal with the main aim being pushing Harambee Stars to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
“As a company we just didn’t want to put in our money as sponsors and have our billboards on the stadia and end at that. We are working on a vision and that is the 2022 World Cup. This is just one of the many partnerships we are going to undertake,” Karauri said.
He also hinted they are working on a possibility to bring the revered club to Kenya though he admits it is a long shot given the logistical nightmare it portends.
“We would also like to enter into partnerships with four more clubs, most likely in the EPL and Spanish La Liga so that these benefits can be as many as possible,” Karauri told Capital Sport.
The coaches will be taken through theory and practical lessons for the whole week and will be joined by Arsenal legend Sol Campbell who arrives in the country early Friday morning.
Coach Tyler who is a community coach with Arsenal is in Kenya for the third time and believes there’s a lot of potential in Kenyan soccer, only that it has not been tapped well.
“I have been around the world taking Arsenal’s work to various countries and being in Kenya for the third time, I can say there’s a lot of untapped talent here. There’s a lot of enthusiasm about football and we only need to strengthen the coaches by imparting knowledge and hope this picks on from here,” he told Capital Sport.
Among the 60 coaches who are taking part in the skills-transfer program are coaches from the recently concluded Kenya Premier league under-20 tournament.
“This is a great thing and of course there is a lot of expectation on our side to gain from the program. I am only hoping it will not be a one week thing and then stops. We hope for continuity and many more programs to enable us become better. We have passion in the game and this is a great venture,” Nairobi City Stars assistant coach Dennis ‘Wise’ Okoth said.
Present during the launch were the three Arsenal coaches, SportPesa CEO Karauri, KPL CEO Jack Oguda and Extreme Sports CEO Hussein Mohammed.