NAIROBI, Kenya, June 20 – The completion of the sixth edition of the Football for Friendship tournament in Moscow, Russia might have just heralded the start of a budding football career for 12-year-old Kenyan Jadidi Ndambuki.
The attacking midfielder surpassed expectations to lead his side to the finals of the juniors competition scoring a hat-trick and providing two assists as the Komodo Dragons comprising of kids from Brazil, Wales, Dominican Republic, Guinea Bissau and Philippines lost 2-1 to the Chimpanzees in the finals staged at the Lokomotiv Stadium.
Ndambuki’s all-round performance saw him not only receive massive praises from his team-mates but also equal measure of approval gestures from the sizeable developmental scouts who graced the finals, referring to the Makadara Junior League academy prodigy as a talent in the making.
“I will most definitely want to monitor Jadidi’s (Ndambuki) career path in the coming couple of years,” Ramiro Van de Laar from the Ajax Football academy in the Dutch capital Amsterdam, remarked.
In the pre-world Cup tournament put together by Gazprom, the official partners of FIFA and the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the organisers have also taken it upon themselves to mentor the youngster by forwarding his name to be one of the young coaches in the next edition.
“Sometimes it’s not easy getting kids who speak different languages coming together to not only make formidable friendship but also gel so well, Jadidi (Ndambuki) was one of the standouts in the team performance and also being a team player-one of the core values of the Football for Friendship (F4F) International Children’s Social Project,” Yana Pavelnko, one of the educators spoke passionately about the Kenyan ambassador who got the opportunity to participate in the International Team of Friendship in the European City.
The star of young Ndambuki, was not about to be dimmed, he got the once in a lifetime chance to fly the country’s flag at the Luzhinki stadium together with a few selected kids from different parts of the globe last Thursday before the 2018 World Cup kicked-off in a match the hosts Russia treated the packed to the brim spectators to a sumptuous 5-0 hiding over perennial whipping boys Saudi Arabia.
“This is not what I envisioned when I was selected to be part of this project. As far as my career is concerned, I believe this is only the beginning,” Ndambuki said.
Having made amazing friends from all over the world is another win for me, this are the moments you cherish,” Ndambuki, who was also given the official World Cup football as a souvenir, recollected.
For developmental coach Stanley Achima, one of the founders of Makadara Junior League academy, he credits the rise of the Parkland’s Baptist school’s career growth to great discipline.
“It is fair to say, he is not the best talent wise in the academy, but what makes him standout is his discipline and sheer hard work, many upcoming talents forget the discipline part, which is essential for career make or break,” Achima stated.
-Kenyan Ambassador to Russia-
Perhaps a pep talk to the acting Kenyan ambassador to Russia, Hillary Kyengo when the Kenyan delegation paid him a visit at the consular headquarters was itself a propeller in getting the good results.
“Football in the country depends on how much investment we put in this juniors, I believe Kenya can qualify to the World Cup if a lot of emphasis is put in nurturing talents, I am so proud of your achievements,” lauded …when he hosted the team to a Kenyan delicacy at the embassy.
The F4F aim was to bring together youngsters from 211 countries to play football while upholding the values of friendship, equality, peace and respect.
The format of the tournament features 32 International Teams of Friendship, each named after endangered animals, and comprising players aged 12 and coached by teenagers from 14 to 16.Teams were made up of footballers from different countries, genres and physical abilities.
-By Amos Abuga-