Sports

Talanta Hela U19: Excitement builds as national draw is conducted


NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 1 – Excitement is building up ahead of the opening game on Sunday after the national draw for the inaugural edition of the Talanta Hela Under-19 football tournament was held Thursday night at the Ministry of Sports headquarters in Upperhill.

A total of 16 teams, both boys and girls, will be involved in the nationals, and they have been divided into four groups each, which will be spread across different venues in Nairobi.

The opening ceremony has been penciled for the Nyayo National Stadium on Sunday, with the final culminating on Jamhuri Day, on the same venue. Winners will receive Sh5mn.

Hosts Nairobi will only present a team in the girls’ competition, after the men failed to make it past the play-off round that was staged in Nyeri two weeks ago.

The Nairobi girls have been drawn in Pool C and will take on Samburu, Kisumu and Nyeri, the latter having earned direct tickets from the regionals.

CS Ababu Namwamba with dignitaries during the draw. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu
CS Ababu Namwamba with dignitaries during the draw. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

In group A, play-off finalists Busia will clash with Kakamega, Nandi and Kwale while Homaba, who also progressed to the nationals off the play-offs route will clash with Wajir, West Pokot and Kisii.

Group D will see Machakos, Kitui, Nakuru and Uasin Gishu clash.

Meanwhile in the boys’ draw, Group A is expected to be competitive with Homabay, who were the darling of the crowd in the play-offs in Nyeri squaring out with Vihiga, Kericho and Garissa.

Group B pits Nyamira, Nyeri, Kisumu and Baringo against each other while Mombasa will battle with Marsabit, West Pokot and Kirinyaga in Group C.

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Uasin Gishu and Nakuru who qualified off the play-offs are in Pool D and will battle with Kiambu and Makueni.

“The Talanta Hela Under-19 tournament is a key deliverable of the bigger Talanta Hela picture where we aim to provide a pipeline where young people can be confident to build a career through the talent route,” said Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba during the draw.

Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba speaking during the draw for teh Talanta Hela Under-19 football tournament in Nairoibi. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu
Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba speaking during the draw for teh Talanta Hela Under-19 football tournament in Nairoibi. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

He added; “Some counties took this as a joke and just brought weak teams but we are thankful to the ones that took it seriously and now, the wheel is rolling to the final. We expecta  very exciting final week.”

Kenya Academy of Sports (KAS) will once again run the tournament and CEO Doreen Odhiambo says she expects a brilliant week of footballing talent.

“We expect a very competitive tournament and I want to wish the teams all the best as they begin their campaign on Sunday,” she stated.





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