NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 19 – Kenyan Premier League side KCB FC and youth talent development academy, Protege Football Club (PFC) have entered into a long-term partnership that will see the latter become the Bankers’ official youth team.
The partnership was unveiled following the end of trials at the KCB Leadership Center which attracted over 100 budding footballers from across the country.
PFC Director Steve Othoro confirmed that 36 players had passed the trials and been recruited into the academy, joining up with a number of youngsters who already call PFC their home.
“The selected players will be integrated into the system and not only benefit from a program that takes their talents to the next level but also improves on their mental, physical and social strengths,” said Othoro.
“Since 2008, we have managed to have over 80 players who have played for their national teams, five making their appearances at the Fifa Wolrd Cup.
“It is this level of success that we envisage for the players we are working with,” he added.
A number of KCB FC coaches were part of the selection process and the club is upbeat that PFC will continue to mint top players who then can be absorbed into the senior team and then find opportunities in the league and abroad.
“We are extremely excited to work with PFC who have already shown they have the personnel and skills set to develop players from such tender ages,” said KCB Team Manager Bramwel Mbirira
“Working with them ensures that while we concentrate on getting the best out of the senior team, there’s a clear path for youngsters developed through our youth system to take the step up,” he added.
The move is also in line with Football Kenya Federation (FKF) club licensing rules which requires topflight clubs to invest in and have fully-functional youth structures.
Protégé have youth set-ups that range from from 7-year-olds up to 21 years.
The U19 team currently play in the FKF County League.
PFC has over the years proved to be a talent factory and currently has two players; Eric Kinuthia and Ronald Bebeto, called up for the Cecafa U20 Championship set for Uganda between September 21 and October 5.
Gor Mahia, AFC Leopards, Zoo Kericho, Sony Sugar and Tusker FC are some of Kenya’s top tier clubs who have been consistently benefiting from recruiting players from their academies.
PFC runs a fully-fledged football academy that focuses on three tenets: player management, performance and well being, talent and character development.