The County Government of Kilifi has begun scouting for talented youth to be trained in various sporting activities in a move to reduce incidences of teenage pregnancies and drug abuse.
County Chief Officer for Youth and Sports, Mr. Naftali Owino, said Tuesday that his office would start with the formation of under-12 football clubs across the county to identify talented youngsters who will ultimately form a county soccer team.
Speaking at the Chamari Primary School in Marafa Ward during the finals of the Marafa Ward Soccer Tournament, Mr. Owino asked coaches of various clubs in the county to start recruiting boys and girls under the age of 12 years.
During the finals of the tournament that was sponsored by area Member of County Assembly (MCA) Emmanuel Karisa Baya, Action Boys FC from Wakala location beat Chamari City FC four goals to one.
Each of the participating teams received awards of footballs and sports kits that included uniforms from the MCA while the county government presented medals to players who had displayed impeccable footballing skills.
Owino said the county government would build a sports complex where those endowed with sporting talent would be nurtured into formidable sports personalities able to compete in national and international sporting activities.
“I urge coaches to start recruiting under-12 football teams so that we can identity their talents, recruit and train them in a sports academy that will be domiciled in the sports complex,” he said.
The chief officer said drug abuse and teenage pregnancies were vices that result from idleness and said engaging the youth in sports would make them busy.
“Young people engage in drug abuse and other anti-social activities because they (youth) are idle. Engage them and they will become productive,” he said, noting that sporting activities would help reduce vices associated with the youth.
“We will start with the under 12 because they have not yet been corrupted by hard drugs and pre-marital sexual activities. However, we shall also assist existing teams of older youths to realize their dreams,” he said.
The Marafa Ward Representative Karisa Baya said he had already tabled a motion in the County Assembly of Kilifi seeking to compel companies in the county to form football clubs and recruit local youths as a way of giving back to the community.
Baya, who singlehandedly sponsored the five-day tournament, said his vision was to help the youth in his ward to identify their sporting talents, nurture and develop them in order to become great sportsmen and women.
Livestock and Fisheries Development Chief Officer Philip Wario said the previous county administration had neglected sports, but assured sports lovers that the Gideon Mung’aro-led government was keen to promote sports in the devolved unit.
His sentiments were echoed by Nominated MCA Justine Rafiki, who noted that some youths had already been identified to form a county team, and that funds had already been allocated to improve sports grounds.
Nominated MCA Esther Kache, who represents the youth at the County Assembly, said MCAs would support sporting activities as a way of creating employment for the youth.
By Emmanuel Masha