Thirty eight boys and 41 girls who participated in the recently concluded Airtel Rising Stars Kenya Secondary Schools’ Sports Association Term 2B games in Mombasa, have been selected to form the Kenya’s under-17 team to compete in the coming Pan-African Airtel Championship, in Nairobi.
Kakamega High and Chogoria Girls have 13 players each in the selected team. Players from St. Anthony Kitale, Upper Hill, Tartar Girls, St. John’s Kaloleni, and Olympic Girls have been omitted because their schools will be away in Bujumbura, Burundi for the East and Central Africa Secondary School Games.
The players were picked by a four-man scouting team lead by former Harambee Stars coaches Twahir Muhidin and Mohammed Kheri.
Other scouts were keeper Mahmoud Abbas and under-20 women's national team deputy coach Fatuma Daniel. For Kakamega High School’s defender Sammy Mejja, the $10, 000 (KSh840, 000) in prize money on offer at the tournament is giving him sleepless nights.
The features teams from 15 countries and kicks off on Monday at the Nairobi City Stadium.
Mejja failed to guide Kakamega to their 11th national football title bowing out in the semi-finals. But the youngster smiled when he was picked for the Manchester United training camp and selected for the continental tournament.
When he lines up on Monday at 1pm for the boys’ pool ‘A’ opening match against powerhouses Ghana, his focus will be to wear the winners’ medal and have a share of the money after the finals next Saturday.
“It feels great to have been selected to the under-17 for this tournament. It’s one of a kind and as hosts, we will stop at nothing. It is a good chance for us to show the rest that Kenya can also be talented in football,” the defender said.
Initially, the matches were supposed to have been played at St. Mary’s School in Nairobi but have been switched to the more centrally-located Nairobi City Stadium.
Said David Ngugi, the KSSSA secretary: “We are privileged to have the chance to host the championship. Our teams have the ability to match the opposition and it will crown a good campaign if we have a team at the final."
The tournament will be officially opened by Prime Minister, Raila Odinga.
The final matches will herald the kick-off of two specialised football clinics in Nairobi and Accra to be run by football coaches from the Manchester United and Arsenal Soccer Schools.
The football clinics will provide technical expertise to aspiring stars chosen by top coaches in the 15 African countries.
Teams: (Boys) Pool A: Ghana, Malawi, Kenya I, Madagascar; Pool B: Nigeria, DRC, Niger, Chad; Pool C: Zambia, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Gabon; Pool D: Uganda, Kenya II, Congo-Brazzaville, Sierra Leone. Girls:
Pool A: Kenya I, Uganda, Malawi, Sierra Leone.
Pool B: Nigeria, Zambia, Chad, Gabon. Pool C: Ghana, Burkina Faso, Kenya II, DRC.
Boys’ squad Kakamega High: Ewoton Dams Ekowon, Sammy Mejja, Kelvin Okoth, Jairus Okeno, Michael Kyalo, Jacob Midega, Harun Nyakha, Baron Jobita, Kevin Omondi, Marcos Wetindi, Martin Chege, Derrick Mwanzi and Jacob Onyango;
Tetu High: Joseph Ngata, Francis Muturi, Amina Daniel, Samuel Kagere, Morris Mahiaini, Reuben Waweru, and Peter Njoroge;
Gekomoni Boys: Alfred Morara, Vincent Sagero, Kevine Gichana, Henry Nyaribari, Enock Atei and Mosoto Osumo; Kibirichia Boys: Ken Mutembei, Abdinassir Mohammed, Abdulahi Ibrahim, Michael Muriithi, John Mburu and Isidin Ali;
Garissa High: Saddam Mohammed and Kennedy Nyamongo; Tononoka High: Ahmed Mafudh and Ali Shamauya Idd.
Chogoria Girls: Enid Kanana, Cecilia Mwatha, Elizabeth Nyaga, Drna Akinyi, Faithrose Nkatha, Vanesa Namayi, Esther Karimi, Risper Nkatha, Mary Wanjiru, Lilian Naitore, Doreen Mueni, Faith Mwende and Basemath Mwongeli; Kobala Mixed: Milka G.A Owino, Nancy A. Juma, Judith A. Otieno, Esther A. Otieno, Genter A. Odeny, Barbara Syprose, Caren Okeyo and Anastasia Akumu; Gataragwa Girls: Melody Muriuki, Eddah Wamunyu, Susan Maina, Caroline Wangui, Catherine Nyaguthi, Bilha Wanjiru and Lydia Ndirangu;
Ibinzo Girls: Joan Makokha, Mildred Munanga, Melon Mulindi, Faith Ongachi, Selvine Khanaka and Cynthia Lihavi;
Kilifi Mixed: Jomeka Chari Tatu, Veneretah Mkoa, Beatrice Salama, Meali Said Bakari and Lillian Fondo Rehema;
Jera School: Emily Ouma; Matuu Memorial: Naomi Njeri.
Ann Keino & Isaac Mutua
© All rights reserved