Kaloleni Academy breaks new ground in youth football development
There is no gainsaying that a good foundation is the basis of every successful endeavour in life.
Everything revolves around a good foundation and it is safe to allude that the same principle applies to world’s most revered sport, football.
Granted, for a nation to have a great football team, it must invest in its youth by setting up academies because that is where talent lies.
It is at the level of academies that future players are initiated into the intricate details and operations of the game which goes beyond learning the basic passing and dribbling of the ball.
Perhaps to emulate this school of thought, former Gor Mahia striker, the late Zablon “Pro” Otieno, came up with the noble idea to start the Pro Soccer Academy in Kaloleni within the sprawling Eastlands in Nairobi with the venture gaining popularity so much so that it is now attracting the eyes of European agents.
Last weekend marked the turning point of the age-group set-up which was mooted by Otieno in 2013 as agents of Barcelona Youth team oversaw the youngsters training at S. Baze ground in Kaloleni and recorded several positives.
The two agents including Belgian Nicky Leliviere and Spanish Josep Maria Roma acknowledged the input of the players in the academy under the patronage of Nicodemus ‘Boka’ Ochieng and observed that the deliberate policy to invest in the youth is bound to break even with sound training.
“Africa is endowed with talent and what we have seen here is amazing. Of course, football is full of rigors but the players who are learning the ropes should not give up but rather continue working hard if they are to make a breakthrough in their careers,” remarked Leliviere.
Pro Soccer has little resources and it is incredulous how the academy has survived the test of times over the years.
Boka, the younger brother of Zablon, who took over the running of the Academy after the demise of his elder sibling, said he has encountered several challenges to keep the venture running.
“Organizing the under 7, 9, 11, 13, 15 and senior teams has not been easy as the kids need uniforms, boots and have to be fed.
In total we need Sh 500,000 per month yet we have no sponsors,” said Boka, himself a former neighborhood team Black Mamba offensive midfielder.
Fortunately, Pro Soccer Academy has had a bail-out from among others Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, Makadara MP George Aladwa, Kenya Rural Rural Road Authority (KRRA) Regional; Procurement Officer (Nrb) Procurement Officer Cate Kangangi,, Regional Manager Engineer Ken Mbogori and Hurricane Ventures Managing Director Anthony Waithaka
During the orientation at Kaloleni, Leliviere used the opportunity to advice the youth on good moral values if they are to make it big in the game.
“You must respect your coaches if you want a good future worth shouting home about.
Football is big business the world over but remember, it is a short career which is why you should balance it with education,” he told the players.