SALOU, Spain, May 15 –The 10-day training camp in Salou, Spain has left sweet memories for the Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom All-Star teams, with the squad wishing it the dream come true could drag for a little while longer.
The team has undergone a rigorous training period with top coaches seconded from La Liga and they jet back home Thursday night a much better side compared to when they set foot in Barcelona.
The team of 32 with 17 boys and 15 girls were taken through a wholesome training program that covered the mental, physical and emotional side of the game at top level.
For majority it was a dream come true after boarding the plane for the first time and to put icing ob the cake, they got a life time opportunity to tour the Camp Nou and watch a live match where Lionel Messi led his charges to a 2-0 victory over Getafe.
The treat did not stop there as the team also toured the Espanyol Stadium, getting the opportunity to have a feeling of top professional successful clubs in Europe.
Speaking to Capital Sport, Marion Iddi, a player from Al Alhy boys team in Kajiado, outlined that he is aspiring to return to Europe to play professional football and help national football team Harambee Stars succeed.
“I have gained a lot, the coaches were good and also learnt from my team-mates too. The training has improved my skills, I now see myself a different person compared to when I came here,” Iddi, who looks up to Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas as his role model revealed.
He added; “I have had good time; going to Camp Nou and Espanyol is a dream come true though the food is different from ours in Kenya. The pitches are out of this world compared to other stadiums, when I return to Kenya I want to be a role model to my fellow team-mates,” Iddi who also dreams of playing for Real Madrid narrated.
His All-Stars team-mate Enock Wanyama had the same experience too, singling out the tour at Camp Nou as his best moments.
“It has been amazing touring Camp Nou and watching a game live. Seeing Messi was unbelievable; I never thought I will be here but thanks to football here I am. Espanyol is also a good stadium and has good environment. We will be looking back and reflecting that we have made a mile stone as players from this trip,” Wanyama who plays for South B United narrated to Capital Sport.
“Training has helped us to know that we need to work as a team, pass the ball and be patient to create chances. For me I have learnt that I need to hold the ball and make quick decisions,” he added.
Wanyama , who is looking up to his name sake, Harambee Stars skipper and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Victor Wanyama as his role model, is now focusing on inspiring his South B United from Nairobi region lift the Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom Nationals scheduled for June in Meru.
“Back to Kenya, my concentration is winning the nationals because all the attention will be on me since I was in the All-Stars team so I want to prove that my selection was not by fluke by putting to actuality what we have learnt here in Spain.”
Her corresponding girls counterpart, King Lady Joy from Kwale Starlets is eyeing a selection in the national women’s football team, Harambee Starlets.
“Experience gained here will help me thrive in football, I have improved in my skills, technique. Life is good in Spain but the only challenge is food. The weather is also good and environment appealing not like Kenya,” she expressed.
“I want to return to Europe and play football here because its more professional, the pitches are marvellous.”
With only two Kenyan coaches managing to get the opportunity to travel to Spain, they were grateful to pick new ideas that will help them improve Kenyan football.
“I have learnt a lot since training sessions are totally different compared to Kenya, as a coach I have gained a lot than the players and I will give the experience learnt back to the society especially now that we are heading to the nationals,” All-Stars ladies coach Pauline Awour said.
“I am going to give my experience, tactical and skillful-wise to my fellow coaches in Kenya as well,” she added.”
Her male counterpart Tedd Amusala revealed he is hoping to take his coaching to a higher level and his wish is to improve the state of Kenyan football in terms of positive results.
“I There are some methods we have been using back at home that I think will come to an end because I want to put into practice what I have learnt in Spain like the game approach, team formation, keeping balance in defense and allowing the players to think and solve the situation,” Amusala who is aiming to win the national title with his boys team from Western stated.
“I have also picked that the diet the players take does have an impact in their performance in the pitch. Back at home players are used to taking heavy meals, they need to avoid that especially before a game,” he added.
“In life I want to prepare a team that will play one system that is building from the back, covering spaces, have balance in the defence and the creativity of the players; they should be able to think first on and off the ball.”
The Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom All-Stars team was selected by scouts from La Liga as well as coaches from the eight regions in Nyanza, Western, Rift Valley, Eastern, North Eastern, Central, Coast and Nairobi.
The team is scheduled to return home Thursday night from Spain to join their respective teams ahead of the nationals slated for June in Meru County.
-Alex Isaboke is reporting from, Barcelona Spain –