Legendary European Footballer Picks 14 Kenyan Teenagers to Train

  • 14 young Kenyans will be taken for specialized training at Lius Figo Academy, which is owned by legendary footballer Luis Figo in Portugal. 

    The selected are out of 44 beneficiaries, who come from needy backgrounds and are part of the 130 000 kids under the Compassionate International (CI) Sponsorship Program.

    The Christian based NGO seeks to end poverty by nurturing both soft and hard talent in the children.

    Four Compassionate International (CI)-sponsored youngsters have been nominated for the prestigious Dream Football Academy.

    The two boys and one girl were scouted last week during the annual Compassionate International sports event at the Taita Taveta University in Voi. 

    They have joined part of a team of 44 Kenyans who will be enrolled for a boot camp in November for vigorous training to sharpen their football skills.

    The Dream Football Team, who are scouting for talented kids aged between 4 and 14, camped in the institution for three days before coming up with the winners.

    “I have always nurtured the dream of becoming a professional footballer from an early age. This is a dream come true. I will utilize this opportunity and showcase my talent and who knows, I could be the next Mariga that Kenya will celebrate,” fourteen-year-old Chidzidzingo Kombo conveyed.

    Kadongo Kutingala, another 14-year-old, pointed out that he had always wanted to play for a big club and in major leagues.

    “I gave it my best when I was in the field. Little did I know that they were recording me because they had been impressed by my talent.  I felt very good when my name was called out as a winner. I have always wanted to play for a big team, including my favourite team Chelsea,” He added, elated.

    Raphael Kasana, 14, cited that this opportunity would enable him to change his life forever.

    “It will give me the chance I have always prayed for in life. I feel that it will enable me to showcase my talent in the global arena and get scouted even more by big clubs. It will also help me sharpen my skills,” he added.

    Among the one-time beneficiaries of CI is Boniface Mwenda, the Dream Football Kenya Operational Manager.

    “The young children have shown impressive talents. Many have the potential to play in the international arena. I am positive that some of them will end up playing in major leagues and different clubs in the global arena,” he cited.

    Mr. Mwenda added that the aim was to see the talent rise and shine. Some of the benefits of the Dream Football boot camp include physical training and having the opportunities to be coached by the best coaches in the global arena.

    He added focus at the camp is on physical education and the nutritional aspect of young children.

    CI Communication Specialist Dr. Daniel Kamau pointed out that they aim to empower the children in an economic sense, and talent is one of the ways they do so.

    “We aim to identify, nurture and develop talent in terms of sporting activity and also by exposing them through different partners.  Many of the children we sponsored have ended up representing Kenya in various clubs and teams, including Harambee Stars and even Malkia Stars,” he explained.

    CI Program Support Manager Dr. Samuel Mwaniki pointed out that there was a need to help the children shine in any of the talents they possessed.

    “We try to work with what they enjoy most and ensure that when the opportunity comes, they will be the best in their area. Mary has been able to utilize these skills and is earning well from sports,” he added.