Kids in Uhuru estate use open field to sharpen skills during Covid-19

Thursday, July 9th, 2020 19:26 |
Coach Joseph Levi take kids on their paces as he hrons their skills in football at Uhuru Estate sports grounds. Photo/PD/Henry Wahinya

The kids who are embellished in the English Premier League (EPL) clubs Liverpool and Arsenal apparel catch the attention of Adan Wario in what appears split seconds.

Curious to know what is happening, he slows down his vehicle along the Jerusalem-Uhuru Estate road, a few meters from the Uhuru Estate-Kariobangi South junction just to catch a glimpse of the youngsters in action.

Wario, who is donning a white flowing Muslim outfit speeds towards the open space-turned football pitch where kids from Uhuru Estate assemble to benefit from soccer skills imparted by Joseph Levi.

Granted, Wario is mesmerised by the goal keeping skills demonstrated by Jeremy Wenya, a 12 year old Standard Six pupil at the nearby Harambee Primary School.

“I’m going to bring my son who has been idle at home here. He loves football, but I did not know where to send him to hone his skills,” says Wario while dashing off to his neighbourhood to get his son to join the groove.

The number of kids partaking exercises under the watchful eye of experienced coaches has ballooned since they are idle at home following the outbreak of Covid-19 

Speaking to People Daily, Levi, who is fondly referred to as ‘coaches ‘by the players, parents and residents, said he initially planned to handle 50 kids before the overwhelming increase in numbers.

“The new arrivals from neighbouring estates of Jericho, Bahati, Ofafa Maringo, Buru Buru and Hamza Makadara has forced the coaching personnel to burn the midnight oil since we have to cater for the childrens training needs, sometimes individually,” offers Levi.

‘After the first case was reported and schools ordered closed, the number has soared.

More parents have developed interest in us and have entrusted their kids with us,” says Levi who is the founder of Uhuru Estate Sportiff  and is also a mtaa (neighbourhood) acclaimed coach

Looking at the players going through work-outs, one cannot help but notice raw talents such as Wenya, who aspires to become a first choice goalkeeper with a Kenyan Premier League (KPL) club.

Guiding players

Wenya readily concedes that he admires Spanish soccer giants, Barcelona and especially their custodian Marc Andre Tere Stegen.

At the training ground, instructions are given with the objective of guiding players to attain their maximum potential in football whereby emphasis is placed on skill and tactical development as well as the maximisation of game enjoyment.

Through a training process that emphasises fair play, respect and hard work, players can achieve the most enjoyment from soccer.

Here, kids are not only encouraged to use their imagination and creativity while playing.

They are also trained on how to express their individuality besides being imparted skills on how they can improve in all aspects of the game at a given time.

Levi is assisted by Christopher Simba, a self-confessed reformed hoodlum in the neighnourhood.

 Simba,  a father of two who operates  an Uber taxi says he is glad that the coach transformed him from his evil past. 

“I was a deadly thug before he) called me and pleaded with me that we work together and I changed my ways. I reformed and I owe my righteous life to him,” he says of Levi.

Levi himself had a training stint in Zanzibar where he picked up vital football training and life skills from the hosts who ran an academy.

“Upon return home, I was taken aback by the crime rate including drug abuse by young people.

Teenage pregnancies were also at an alarming rate and this was the motivating factor that caused me to set up the academy with the support of residents,” he says 

“Christian values and HIV/Aids awareness is inculcated alongside soccer trainings. Interaction among children makes them grow as Kenyans and not those divided on ethnic backgrounds,” he told PD at the grounds.

More on Football