NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 20 – Seven Kenyan coaches stand a chance to attend an exclusive new training camp with Arsenal’s top youth coaches in London after being shortlisted for the WorldRemit Future Stars football coaching programme.
The seven Kenyans are Kariobangi Sharks U17 coach Beldine Odemba, Hamisi Mohamed, Ligi Ndogo’s Iddi Badi, Kevin Oduor Akumu from Kibera, Mutinda Irene Mutindi, Samira Schwarz and Stephen Githinji.
The Kenyans are among 25 shortlisted applicants for the WorldRemit Future Stars football coaching programme launched in August to offer local coaches from across Africa the chance to attend an exclusive new training camp with Arsenal’s top youth coaches in London.
From the 25 shortlisted applicants, five finalists chosen by the judges will go through to a public vote, where they will compete for the chance to train with Arsenal Soccer Schools coaches.
The five finalists will be featured on the futurestars.worldremit.com website and voting will open in the last week of September.
Kenya was the most represented country in the shortlist, with 1 in 3 coaches coming from the country. The entries reflected a range of ways that football is being used to address social challenges including gang violence and drug addiction.
Head of East and Central Africa at WorldRemit Sharon Kinyanjui said: “The high volume of Kenyans in the shortlist is a clear indication of the importance of youth football coaching in the community and the power of sport to bring people together.”
“I was particularly delighted to see so many compelling entries from women coaches and hope that their success will also encourage more women to participate in football. The strength of all the entries from Kenya as a very promising sign for the country’s future,” she added.
Simon McManus of Arsenal Soccer Schools said: “The standard of entries was very impressive, making this a real challenge for the judges. The Arsenal Way is all about thinking about others, getting the detail right and going above and beyond expectations.”
“We were very impressed with how strongly this commitment to outstanding coaching was reflected by Kenyans. The work these participants have already done in developing their coaching shows the immense potential of coaching in Kenya to inspire confidence and encourage positive social change,” he added.
“Having the most successful women’s side in England, Arsenal is actively involved in encouraging participation in the women’s game. We see the strength of the entries from women coaches as a very encouraging sign for the sport. We are eagerly anticipating the final results and look forward to welcoming the successful coach to London.”
The programme is a new initiative set up by WorldRemit, the official online money transfer partner of Arsenal Football Club, to recognise and reward the valuable contribution that youth coaches make to the communities they serve.
The programme received over 700 applications in one week from across Africa. A shortlist of 25 coaches has been selected by a judging panel of representatives from Arsenal and WorldRemit. In recognition of their hard work, the 25 shortlisted coaches will receive official Arsenal shirts for their youth team.
WorldRemit will pay for the successful applicant to travel to London in October to attend the Future Stars camp.
The programme will equip them with coaching skills which they can take back to build a lasting legacy of coaching excellence in their country.
Kenyans in the Future Stars shortlist
Beldine Odemba -Nairobi
A community coach for the Kariobangi Sharks under 13 and under 17 boys’ teams, Beldine is the only woman coaching male football teams in her community. She is passionate about improving the standard of football training in her community and helping young players achieve their full potential.
If she were to win the training session with top Arsenal youth coaches, she would use the opportunity to improve her own coaching technique and share her new skills with the local football federation to benefit the wider community.
Hamisi Mohamed -Nairobi
Hamisi is a founder of Young Talents Soccer Academy, a mixed academy in Embul Bul, Ngong.
Together with his friends, Hamisi started the academy over 10 years ago to bring young members of his community together and help them avoid falling into tribalism, drug abuse and crime. He was involved in the Premier Skills programme, a joint venture between the Premier League and the British Council, which further reinforced his belief that football can make a positive impact on society.
If he were to win a coaching session with Arsenal, he would use the opportunity to benefit his local community. He would share the knowledge he gains with others and use it to enrich coaching programs designed to address societal issues.
Iddi Badi -Nairobi
Iddi believes that a great youth coach should not only teach football but should also act as a role model for their players. Iddi coaches the under 11 and under 14 Ligi Ndogo boys’ teams and sees football as a powerful tool to offer children a sense of direction and prevent them from joining gangs or falling into drug addiction.
If he won a coaching session with Arsenal, he would organise training sessions for local coaches and school teachers to enhance the standard of football among young boys and girls in his community.
Kevin Oduor Akumu -Nairobi
Kevin is the founder and head coach at Faces Sports Academy, teaching 60 boys and girls of different age groups from the Kibera slum.
After seeing children from slums being turned away from established football academies, he established Faces Sports to give children from all walks a life the chance to explore their passion for football and inspire them to achieve greater things.
Through a coaching session with Arsenal, he would hope to improve on his own knowledge of football and realise his long-term dream of having a positive impact on the slums through sport.
Mutinda Irene Mutindi -Nairobi
With support from the local church, Mutinda coaches boys and girls from Ruiru in the Kiambu county of Kenya. Many of the children come from underprivileged backgrounds, and Mutinda strives to have a positive impact on their lives as well as improve their sporting abilities.
A passionate footballer herself, Mutinda has been playing since she was at primary school and is keen to encourage more girls to get involved in sports.
Mutinda believes that winning a coaching session with Arsenal would better equip her to use sport to help solve social problems such as drug abuse.
Samira Schwarz -Nairobi
Samira currently teaches a football academy (Knights FC) that comprises of community kids from the slum areas and has been coaching for around 5 months – mainly focusing on the under 11s. She began coaching as a way to bond with her son and sees football as a way to help children to grow up to be responsible adults. She wants to win because it will equip her with the necessary skills to pass on to my players. To give them an opportunity to fight through their current circumstances and excel in football.
Stephen Githinji -Nairobi
A dedicated football coach for children of all ages, Stephen trains boys, girls and mixed youth teams at Premier Academy. He also launched Saturday soccer schools program, Ospreys Sports Academy.
As well as improving children’s skills on the pitch, he sees football as a great way to develop vital life skills such as decision-making and self-control.
His goal is to establish a school that strives for sporting excellence alongside academic subjects. He would use the opportunity to train with Arsenal to learn from premier league coaches and help build this sports program.