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Ulinzi Youth players celebrate after winning the Central Region Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom Boys’ title at the Nanyuki Stadium on January 19, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Features

Despite COVID-19 halt Chapa Dimba na Safaricom still looks to impact youth

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 18 – The top cream of the Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom Season Three would have been in Spain now, learning the ropes and getting mentorship from the best of the best in the La Liga, but that dream has been slowed down by the advent of the coronavirus pandemic.

The ‘All Star’ team was scheduled to travel to Madrid for the 10-day long camp for a second consecutive year, but with all sporting activities halted due to the virus, it was not possible. The Nyanza and Western regional finals were also postponed.

But, even as the wheels of the youth tournament were brought to a halt, the success has continued to roll with more players earning an opportunity to showcase their talent.

“This is the third season and there has been a lot of development. Looking at the journey, we have managed to pull together a huge pool of youngsters who now have a platform to showcase their talent, thanks to Safaricom and the Football Kenya Federation,” former Kenyan international Doreen Nabwire and one of the Season Three mentors stated.

Nairobi’s Acakoro head coach Jackline Juma gives instructions during the regional finals at the Jamhuru High School. Juma is also an assistant coach with national team Harambee Starlets. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

She adds; “As we have been going round, you see lots of talent and different crop of players and now we are looking at ways we can inject more players into the leagues to continue their development.”

Patrick Korir, the Assistant Tournament Director also shares the same sentiments having been at the heart of the tournament’s organization since the first season.

Korir, who is also the Nairobi City Stars CEO was also part of the previous tournament, Sakata Ball which was a huge success in 2010 and 2011.

“We have seen so many players come off from this program and gone on to be success stories. From the first Sakat ball tournament some of those players are now established in the league,” Korir stated, pointing out the examples of former AFC Leopards centre back pairing Salim ‘Shittu’ Abdalla and Robinson Kamura.

Over the newly revamped tournament, the players have continued to crop up and sip into the top leagues with Tusker FC boasting of the season one MVP David Majak and Eric Zakayo while Zoo Kericho have keeper brian Lumumba and Alex Onchwari both from the first two seasons.

Safaricom who made the decision to re-introduce the tournament in 2018 where they partnered Harambee Stars skipper Victor Wanyama hope the success stories can continue.

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“The success of this tournament means that the insight we had in investing in young people was right. It also means that young people just need an opportunity and we have provided a platform for them to be seen and be shortlisted in the national team. For us it is satisfying and we are grateful,” Safaricom’s Chief Customer Officer at Safaricom Sylvia Mulinge stated.

It is not only with the boys that the tournament has been successful, but with the girls as well, especially national football team Harambee Starlets.

Central region MVP Mariam Lutomia and top scorer Jane Njeri were called up to the Starlets squad for the Turkey tournament in March with Njeri making the final squad as did Sylvia Makungu and Diana Ashina from Acakoro.

Falling Waters striker Jane Njeri celebrates after clinching the Golden Boot at the Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom Central region finals in Nanyuki on January 19, 2020. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Among other Chapa Dimba girls to make it to the national team are Judith Osimbo, Mercy Airo and Jentrix Shikangwa.

“The fact that we have seen so many success stories proves that there is something being born from the tournament. We have so much talent and they only need a platform to compete and be seen to get better opportunities,” Nabwire notes.

She adds; “In future, this tournament will be very resourceful especially in making up the Under-17, 20 and 23 national teams.”

Her sentiments are echoed by Korir who has also called on Safaricom to maintain the partnership.

“We have seen from the success stories that there is so much this tournament can do and I would want to encourage Safaricom to continue putting money and organizing this tournament. In the next five or seven years to come, Chapa Dimba will help shape Kenyan football,” he notes.

The Chapa Dimba Season Three story so far:

North Eastern Region – Hosted at Garissa.

Champions: Berlin FC

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MVP: Noor Osman (Berlin)

Top scorer: Abdalla Marro (Berlin

Coast Region – Hosted in Mombasa

Champions: Girls- Kwale Ladies, Boys – Yanga FC

MVP: Girls – Lucy Kwekwe (Kwale Ladies), Boys – Eric Katana (Kaya Stars)

Golden Boot: Girls – Lucy Kwekwe (Kwale), Naomi Jemin, Mwanajuma Mwalimu (Malindi Action), Boys – Lemmy Julo (Yanga)

Golden glove: Boys – Samuel Kiboni (Yanga), Girls – (Lucy Akinyi (Kaloleni Stars)

Central Region – Hosted in Nanyuki

Champions: Girls- Falling Waters, Boys – Ulinzi Youth

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MVP: Girls – Miriam Lutomia (Falling Waters), Boys – Kelvin Akmat (Ulinzi Youth.

Golden boot: Girls – Jane Njeri (Falling Waters), Boys – Brian Kafero (Ulinzi Youth)

Golden glove: Girls – Eunice Alele (Falling Waters), Elijah Mambo (Ulinzi Youth)

Eastern Region – Hosted in Machakos

Champions: Girls – Isiolo Starlets, Boys – Tumaini School

MVP: Girls – Susan Wanjeri (Chuka University), Boys – Yasin Mohamed (Tumaini School)

Tumaini School’s Yassin Mohammed celebrates with his golden boot and Most Valuable Player trophies after the Chapa Dimba na Safaricom Eastern Regional finals in Machakos on February 9, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Golden boot: Girls – Susan Wanjeri (Chuka University), Boys – Yasin Mohamed (Tumaini School)

Golden glove: Girls – Riziki Fatuma (Isiolo Starlets), Samuel Milton (Tumaini School)

Nairobi Region – Hosted at Jamhuru High School

Champions: Girls – Beijing Raiders, Boys – Dagoretti Mixed

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MVP: Girls – Salome Drailer (Beijing), Peter Chibole (Dagoretti)

Golden glove: Girls – Esnas Kisia (Beijing Raiders), Boys – Elvis Ochieng (Hakati Sportiff).

Rift Valley region – Hosted at Kericho Stadium

Champions: Girls – Wiyeta, Boys – Laiser Hill Academy

MVP: Girls – Diana Musiliri (Wiyeta), Boys – Timothy Ouma (Laiser Hill)

Golden boot: Girls – Shylene Opisa (Wiyeta), Alfred Tanui (Kapenguria Heroes)

Golden gloves: Girls – Emelda Ingaitsa (Wiyeta), Boys – James Mumi (Laiser Hill).

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