Coach Waithaka urges government to use professionals in running the Bottom-Up tournament
Othaya Talent Academy head coach Waithaka Kinyua has called upon the ruling Kenya Kwanza admnistration led by President William Ruto to involve real football stakeholders in managing and running the affairs of yet to be launched Bottom Up Under-19 tournament.
Waithaka who also doubles up as Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Nyeri county youth representative said for the initiative to succeed, politicians should stay away and let passionate youth steer the competition to another level.
"My appeal to President William Ruto is he should demand that only those who mind football interest in the country run the Bottom Up tournament but not politicians who will want to use the opportunity for their own self gains through pushing for their re-election.We got youth who have been actively involved in talent mentorship let them be elevated and take charge of running the event with assistance of coaches,retired footballers and federation officials at every county " he said.
Speaking at Nyayo Stadium during the 2022 Jamhuri Day celebrations,the head of state disclosed his admnistration will launch a nationwide Bottom-up Under-19 football tournament starting at ward level in all 47 counties as part of Kenya Kwanza administration's Football Vision 2030.
The Bottom-Up tournament is part of a wider plan by government to qualify the national men's football team, Harambee Stars, for the 2030 World Cup and host the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations alongside other East African countries.
“As part of this plan, I have accepted to champion a grassroots football development program that will see the national government work with county governments to invest heavily in youth football,” said President Ruto in his speech during the Jamhuri Day Celebrations at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi.
“Arrangements are at an advanced stage to launch a Bottom-up football tournament to be contested by under-19 teams from all 47 Counties. We will work with our governors for each County to build a team right from the ward level.
“This is the first step in our Football Vision 2030 where we target to see Harambee Stars play at the 2030 World Cup and Kenya host the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations. Together, let us build Kenyan football Bottom-up, from the grassroots of our villages to the grand stage of the World Cup.”
Further, the Head of State said he will also unveil a payment plan dubbed ‘Talanta Hela’ as a way to monetize the sports and creative industry.
Earlier last month, the Cabinet Secretary for Sports and Youth Affairs Ababu Namwamba reiterated Kenya Kwanza admnistration's plans of putting in place programs aimed at nurturing talent in various parts of the country.
He was speaking in the company of Kenya Academy of Sports CEO Dr Doreen Odhiambo while watching an under 19 football game between Isambo Elites and Talanta FC at Moi International Sports centre, Kasarani stadium.
"This game we have watched here is part of the football nurturing program supported by the ministry through the Kenya Academy of Sports.We have rolled out a grassroot plan aimed at spotting and nurturing raw talents through a bottom-up approach model. The program will be run through a digital platform dubbed, Talanta Hela" read a post on the handle by the Ministry of Sports
Talent search initiative dubbed Talanta Hela will entail having a portal by the sports ministry whereby budding talents will be identified, their videos taken and uploaded on the portal for professional coaches to follow up on them.