NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 28 – West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo says the county is a haven of sports talent, putting off those who wrongly perceive the Rift Valley region as a cattle rustling hotbed.
Lonyangapuo, who set aside five hours on Monday to honour Kapenguria Heroes at his office for winning the Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom tournament Boys title, vowed to construct a state of the art soccer academy in the county that will be ready before 2022.
“There are those who say West Pokot residents are cattle rustlers, but we have now changed it. We have removed the word cattle and replaced it with soccer, so we are now soccer rustlers, athletics rustlers and academic rustlers,” Lonyangapuo beamed while rewarding the Kapenguria Heroes and Tartar Girls for their efforts at the tournament.
“We will put up a soccer academy that will be funded by the County Government to be able to identify talent within our region and be able to produce players who will play in the national team, so keep on working hard,” Lonyangapuo told the players.
“There are many people in Kenya including some here they are asking themselves can anything good come out of West Pokot? But the grace of God was upon us and we beat all the teams and reached the final.
Kapenguria Heroes defied all odds to lift the title after upsetting favourites Gor Mahia Youth 3-0 in post-match penalties and pocket the Sh1mn prize kitty.
On top of that, the boys also earned a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to London, the capital of the United Kingdom, for a week-long training and mentorship programme with the Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom brand ambassador, Victor Wanyama.
The County boss has also challenged the boys to go out to London and show they did not win the tournament by fluke, but are indeed as good as they look.
“Gor Mahia gave birth to Gor Youth who fainted on Sunday as we beat them. They were shocked so we want to show them that we also have talent in soccer,” Lonyangapuo stated.
Things however did not go well for their girls Tartar who were edged out 4-3 in post-match penalties by Nyanza representatives Plateau Queens, but were nonetheless rewarded by the Governor for their efforts.
They were both rewarded with Sh100, 000 in cash and promised breakfast meeting with Deputy President, William Ruto and Lunch with his boss, President Uhuru Kenyatta in April.
Kapenguria Heroes produced three best players; South Sudanese striker David Majak, Fredrick Krop and goalkeeper Brian Lumumba who have all joined Kenyan Premier League side Kakamega Homeboyz.
West Pokot prides to have produced great sports personalities including three-time World Half Marathon champion, the legendary Tegla Loroupe.