NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 29 – Winners of the Safaricom Chapa Dimba football tournament will have the prestigious opportunity of training and spending one week with Harambee Stars captain and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Victor Wanyama in London, United Kingdom next year.
The tournament, sponsored by the telecommunication company will involve boys and girls aged between 16 and 20 years and will kick off on September 2 with the winners also walking home with Sh1mn
Wanyama who is the tournament’s brand ambassador said he was excited with the venture that will see more grass-root talent identified and has urged the sponsors to ensure the partnership goes on for a long time.
“I think this is a great thing for our country and I am pleased to be part of it. Grass-root is where the real talent is and I know from this place the next big star will be found,” Wanyama said as the tournament was launched on Thursday afternoon at the Railways Club in Nairobi.
Safaricom which has pumped Sh100mn into the tourney makes a return to football after five years, having stopped sponsoring the Sakata Ball tournament in 2012 following differences with the then Football Kenya Federation (FKF) officials.
“When we started having issues last time we were here with Sakata Ball, I made a decision because we are an organization which stands with principles and transparency. But when the new office came in and we talked, then I thought something would happen,” Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore said.
FKF will run the tournament on behalf of Safaricom with registration opening on July 1 across all the eight regions, closing at the end of the month.
Federation boss Nick Mwendwa has promised Safaricom they will run the competition professionally and has urged more corporates to come into football.
“One of the promises we made when we came into office is that we would bring Safaricom back. I am glad to stand here today and see them back in the game. This is a different regime and we want to do things differently,” Mwendwa stated.
He added; “Football worldwide is all about the youth and we want to give the youth of this country a chance from all over the country.”
In addition to the running costs of the property, Safaricom has set aside over Sh10mn for prizes and renovation of some of the local community pitches.
“Football is one of the most unifying tools in the world and we aim to give our youth an opportunity to grow and exhibit their talent. We are glad to be back in football as we continue strengthening our commitment to supporting sports in the country,” Collymore noted.
Team registration and verification for the tournament will take place in July and August 2017. The matches will start with group stages in September 2017, followed by the knockout stages and regional finals, with the grand finale set for March 2018.
During the games, FKF will be scouting for players to try out for the National under 17 and under 20 teams.