NAIROBI, Kenya, July 6 – A visit by the English Premier League side Everton FC to Kenya and exchange programs are potentially some of the benefits expected to come out once a partnership between the Merseyside club and Football Kenya Federation (FKF) is sealed.
FKF president Nick Mwendwa held an initial meeting with officials from Everton FC on Wednesday evening after they visited the federation’s offices in Kasarani and watching the national Under-17 side training.
The high powered Everton FC delegation was led by the club’s Chief Executive Officer Robert Elstone, his deputy and head of Community Dr Denise Barrett-Baxendale and the Commercial Director Alan McTavish.
Though nothing has been put to paper as far as a partnership is concerned, Elstone said discussions are progressing well to churn out a partnership formula that will see Everton give and gain from Kenyan football.
Making reference to Harambee Stars captain Victor Wanyama’s top performances with Southampton FC which earned him a move to London giants Totenham Hotspur, Elstone is optimistic they will work together with the federation to give an opportunity to more young players.
“I know of what a great player Victor (Wanyama) is and what he has done in the toughest league in the world. That clearly shows there is some potential here and some of the ingredients are there. We will need to partner and see how best we can give them a chance at the top,” the CEO said.
Speaking on the sidelines to Capital Sport, Elstone made reference to a football academy Everton has put up in Bangkok where the club’s coaches occasionally go to pass skills to players as well as coaches and disclosed putting up such is a possibility in Kenya.
He is however keen not to pinpoint any particular arrears of partnership with the federation until the finer details are put out.
Elstone also said a potential visit by the club’s first team to Kenya is a possibility but noted other teams within the Everton family such as the Academy players, ladies’ team and community teams would visit the country.
“There were agreements to make some of which are long term plans and we have to be patient. We are not here to say we can fix Kenyan football problems but we are here to help and see some of the gaps where we can assist,” Elstone disclosed.
“We are keen to see how we can help, be it in developing young talent and stars of the future or around communities and using football to inspire and change lives,” he added.
Mwendwa hinted that Kenyan top clubs will benefit from the new partnership especially as far as management and structural organization is concerned.
The FKF boss appreciated the fact that Everton as a club has proved to be stable both financially and in management, and Kenyan clubs would benefit a lot by visiting the club based in Liverpool to learn and implement especially with the new club licensing rules put in place by CAF.
“We want to invite some clubs to go to Everton and see how they do their things. They will also have a few things to learn from us probably some of our young players can be given a platform maybe a trial in a few years,” Mwendwa said.
“Our clubs will have a lot to learn in terms of structures and academies, financial accounts and management. We can learn from the best, takes what fits us, it will take long but definitely we will be somewhere,” he stated.
Mwendwa disclosed that the federation will pick lessons on how to effect the recently launched cashless ticketing system as well as pick points on how to bring more fans to stadia.
Also of interest to Mwendwa is stadium safety and security, noting the huge crowds that flock Everton’s home ground, Goodison Park.
On Thursday, the officials will have a meeting with Kenyan Premier League and FKF’s sponsors SportPesa where they will discuss more possibilities of partnerships to improve the game in the country.