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President orders NYS to vacate Acakoro pitch

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President Uhuru Kenyatta speaks at State House, Nairobi during the FIFA World Cup trophy tour luncheon. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 27- Korogocho based football academy Acakoro was handed a priceless gift on Monday when President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the National Youth Service to vacate from the piece of land they had occupied eating up into almost half of the team’s training ground.

Acakoro, famed for its U-11 side’s victory over Barcelona in the Donauauen Cup in 2016 had been forced to either train in shifts in the squeezed field or seek alternatives, thus hindering their training regime.

But on Monday, the President directed that the NYS vacate the field, asking Cabinet Secretary for Gender and Youth Margaret Kobia who was present to ensure that is followed up and the same is implemented.

“The young man I was sitting next to tells me their pitch in Korogocho was taken away by the NYS and now we have agreed today and madam CS is there, she will rectify that situation. NYS will relocate to a new place and make sure you fix their field and you sort it out so that they are able to play their game,” President Kenyatta said, directing the orders to Kobia.

The President was speaking on Monday during the hosting of the FIFA World Cup trophy at State House in Nairobi where Acakoro was one of the teams invited for the event.

Sports CS Rashid Echesa has meanwhile told Capital Sport he will also push to see that the same is implemented, adding it will be good news especially with his ambition of strengthening grassroot football.

“That is a Presidential directive and there are no two ways about it. It will be done and I will make sure as the CS for Sports that the directive is followed to the latter,” Echesa who took charge from Hassan Wario said.

Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa speaks at State House, Nairobi during the FIFA World Cup trophy tour luncheon. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Acakoro has been up in arms over the pitch which had been taken up since 2015 and efforts to talk to county government officials over the challenge hit uneven rocks.

The community playing field, perched deep in the Korogocho slums had been a safe haven for the sprawling talent in the area. However, just off the blues, the Youth Service put up structures eating into almost a third of the field and fenced off the area.

Harambee Stars stand-in coach Stanley Okumbi who is a founder coach of the academy has expressed ecstasy at the news, saying that the team had struggled to give the upcoming players quality training with limited space.

“The academy has been growing and we have been forced to hire a nearby school at the cost of Sh35,000 a month which is very expensive for a community academy like us,” Okumbi lamented.

He added; “This is very good news for us and I am only hoping that the orders are obeyed and above all, the pitch restored to its previous state. Some goal posts had been uprooted while there are structures that had been built there which need to be rooted out,” Okumbi noted.

Meanwhile, the President said he would donate a full kit to the team.

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