Kwale based Australian Mining Firm Base Titanium in partnership with Jugend Verent Kenya Ltd (YOUNITED Centre Germany Kenya Ltd) has been hosting the maiden edition of soccer talent hunt.
Base Titanium organised a two-day football scouting session for youth, which was a partnership between the mining company and YOUNITED Centre, a German based sporting organization, keen on redefining sports in Kwale.
Speaking to the press at the Kwale Mine site during the launch of the scouting sessions Ms Irene Gitaa, Managing Director (MD) YOUNITED Centre Germany said the partnership with the mining company is out to tap and nurture football talents for the future of local football
Gitaa says football is a global sport and Africa has talented players that need to be scouted and seen early for professional leagues.
“We are targeting Tana River, Lamu and Kwale counties where raw talent can be found and because of that we are expanding our scouting network to the coastal region,” she said adding that the successful players would be engaged in contracts abroad.
She said the partnership will be able to add value to local football youngsters and provide them with the necessary environment and increase their chances of becoming professional soccer players.
The United Centre Germany has announced a football exchange programme with Kwale local soccer clubs for both boys and girls from 10-17 years old. The initiative is designed to unearth and nurture raw football talents in Kwale and accord them a platform to display and enhance their talent.
The talent hunt initiative saw six teams from Kwale compete in a knock-out football tournament and also receive advice and mentorship from Mike Hilbig, YOUNITED Centre International Business Development specialist and accredited UEFA Coach from Germany, who also once served as Bayern Munich Junior Team Coach.
“Our goal is to partner with stakeholders like Base Titanium and launch a sporting arena in Kwale County that seeks to provide talented coastal soccer players an opportunity to reach their full potential,” she said.
She said, “Our expectations were high and we were not disappointed when players from all corners of Kwale gathered here at Base Titanium Mine site to showcase their skills.”.
The top sporting official said they aim to empower young players and equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in the sport.
Gitaa said the raw talent exhibited by the young players during the scouting sessions was outstanding adding that they displayed an abundance of raw talent that left no room for doubt.
“The two days scouting session has seen the raw talent displayed by the young players and we are determined to help them flourish,” she said, adding that Kwale was a potential sporting powerhouse.
She said Mr Mike Hilbig is a great scout and was figuring out who were the local players that were worthy and they could be developed into major-league talents.
On his part, Base Titanium Government Relations Superintendent Mr Ali Masemo said local football clubs face many challenges such as limited resources and opportunities that often hinder their progress.
“But Base Titanium through its sporting activities is determined to change this narrative and support talented players both on and off the pitch,” he said, adding that Base Titanium is determined to use the game as a catalyst for personal growth and empowerment.
Masemo said Base Titanium helps local clubs look for raw talent from every corner of Kwale and help develop them into successful players for the world’s most popular game.
The Base Titanium official said the mining firm is keen on developing and improving local sporting activities and will continue partnering with like-minded organizations to further develop sports in the coastal county.
“We recognize the impact sports has in bringing people together and providing a platform for the youth to show their skills. We understand that young people need opportunities to display their raw talent and for this to happen we need to have more of these tournaments,” said Masemo.
Kwale Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Chairman Mr Hamisi Mwakoja lauded the talent hunt exercise which was conceptualized to give local leagues the platform to showcase their prowess.
Mwakoja said talent identification and right coaching is the most crucial thing to identify all the talented children of 10 to 17 years of age at the grassroots.
He welcomed the football talent hunt partnership, noting that it will go a long way in promoting soccer as a viable career option for young people who may eventually export such services to established clubs.
Mwakoja assured Base Titanium and YOUNITED Centre Germany of FKFs unwavering commitment to the new soccer partnership and urged the stakeholders to remain consistent to help a lot of players achieve their dreams
By Hussein Abdullahi