CS Ababu asks counties for more involvement for Talanta Hela success

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 24 – Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba has asked County Governments to be more involved, to ensure the Talanta Hela Under-19 football tournament is more successful and achieves its set goals.

The national finals of the inaugural edition of the youth tournament are scheduled for December in Nairobi, and Ababu has challenged Governors of the respective counties which have qualified to ensure their teams are well prepared.

Concerns were raised during the play-off tournament in Nyeri this week, with coaches calling for more empowerment in terms of equipment.

While Namwamba says the Ministry will increase the support to teams in the second edition, he has challenged counties to be more proactive and invest well in their teams.

Mandera goalkeeper Dhahir Abdikadir is mobbed by his teammates as they celebrate his performance in the 1-0 win against Nairobi. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

“I want to challenge the Counties. This is something that they should celebrate. When the President launched this tournament on June 9, we did it together with the leadership of the 47 counties with the Preident handing each of them a flag,” Namwamba said, speaking to Capital Sports.

He added; “They made commitments to brand their teams, and this was a condition to participate. I want to urge them to live up to their commitments heading to the finals. It has been shameful to see some teams come (to Nyeri) without kits and we have been forced to scamper around.”

“This is a partnership and it can only grow better,” Namwamba further states.

A total of 16 county teams will compete in the boys’ and girls’ nationals. Twelve teams qualified from the regional games while a further four were added from the play-off tournament that ended in Nyeri on Wednesday.

Busia County girls celebrate after their victory over Uasin Gishu that earned them a place in the national finals. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu
Busia County girls celebrate after their victory over Uasin Gishu that earned them a place in the national finals. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Namwamba says they have picked plenty of lessons from the initial rounds of the competition and has promised a bigger and better tournament next year, saying it has proved a sustainable way to identify and nurture sporting talent in the country.

“We will be providing much more support to participating teams next year. We want to turn this into a strong partnership between the national and county governments and the corporates as well because there has been lots of corporate interest,” noted the CS.

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He adds; “Kenyans can see the vision. We are providing an avenue for talent to be seen, nurtured and progressed. By the time we close, I believe Kenyans will have seen that the only way to revive sports is going back to basics and raise youth from the grassroots.”

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