By Ciclia Nelima
After six months of gruelling matches and high-octane tackles, the Base Titanium Football tournament will come to an end on the 9th December 2022.
The tournament, in its second edition, will see Wayzata Boys from Gasi who were finalist in the first edition (runners up) play against Fihoni Young stars.
The tournament whose aim is to nurture talent in Kwale (Msambweni Sub-County) has been attracting the attention of hundreds of youths and teams in the area who are keen to make a career out of sports.
In the second phase 32 local football teams from Msambweni were sponsored to participate and square it off for the grand price of Kes 200,000.
After losing at the finals during Base Titanium first edition football tournament to Magaoni’s Vimbwanga FC, Waiyzata FC have another chance to redeem themselves against Fihoni FC.
Fihoni on the other hand, perceived as an underdog has been the surprise package in the tournament.
Having been eliminated in the group stages during the previous tournament, Fihoni FC will be banking on its good defence to lift the trophy this time round.
“We were defeated in all matches during the first edition of Base Titanium tournament but that did not make us give up, instead we re-strategized, regrouped and went back to train our team and that is why today we are at the finals,’ said Fihoni FC couch Joshua Kiilu.
Unlike other tournaments where they are forced to pay registration fees and cater for many expenses, the Base Titanium tournament caters for everything making it easy for teams to participate and showcase their talents to the world.
Local sporting tournaments have always been used as an arena where successful sporting personalities have been netted and the Base Titanium Tournament might just be the ground for talent managers in Kwale and Coast to scout and spot the next Robert (Boban) Mambo.
‘Base is really helping us to make sure players have everything needed to play which include provision of water and transport among other things,” said Waizata FC coach Ibrahim Omar.
He said that after losing to Magaoni during the first edition of Base Titanium tournament, his team is ready to take on Fihoni FC and go home with the first winner prize.
“My team has never participated in such a tournament which is organized and well planned for and above all the prize on top is amazing. We are used to Sh30, 000 and 20,000 tournaments where you spend more than the presents given unlike what Base Titanium is doing. This is really motivating the youth to come out and expose their talents,” Omar told Coast Times.
Asked why Wayzata lost to Magaoni in the last edition, Omar said that it is because matters of football keep on changing adding that it is not easy to predict a victory since games keep on changing.
Paradoxically the two teams that are facing each other for the finals played their first match with Wayzata defeating Fihoni FC 4-0.
“Wayzata FC defeated us 4-0 during our first opening match but we are ready to face them. We have learned from our mistakes and we are optimistic of defeating them,” Fihoni FC Coach Joshua Kiilu told Coast Times.
He said that the tournament provides a good platform for regional and nationwide team coaches to scout for talented footballers in order to create employment for the youths adding that such initiative should be encouraged.
“We urge clubs and other national football teams to come and see talents that are being nurtured by Base Titanium so that they can spot and pick the best. By doing so, as Base promotes sports around its mining area, they will have created employment to the youths,” he added.
Kwale county branch chairman for the Kenya Football Federation (KFF) Hamisi Koja said that the Base Titanium football tournament is an opportunity and platform for talented youth to showcase their skills adding that it is also a way of players getting back to the pitch after a period of Covid19.
At the Coast unemployment and the use of drugs among youth have been blamed for the increasing indiscipline cases and sports programs have been able to reduce cases of drug abuse.
The National Cohesion and Integration Commission and Samba Sports Youth Agenda are among the organizations that have also been using sports to embrace talent as to propagate co-existence among youth.
In partnership with Base Titanium, Samba Sports Youth Agrnda has been able to inspire and influence healthier behaviours in young people, mitigating vulnerabilities of young people from within their localities and colouring the world of young people.
Samba Sports Youth Agenda partnership advisor Mohamed Mwachausa said that they have continued to support football clubs in Kwale with the aim of ensuring youths shun drug abuse.
“We want to ensure youths continue playing and nurturing their talent as they avoid drug abuse which is rampant in the society. This will also inspire other people across the world to shun drugs and criminality, we have engaged about 800 youths in the last two months through sports,” he said.
Adding “Samba Sports uses sports, fun and games as a mobilizer and a connector with adolescents and youth, and it has been very effective in transforming the fortunes of these young people, since they feel wanted, excited, appreciated and respected. Using sports has made it easy to reach the most at-risk youths, “said Mwachausa.
In July 2020, Samba Sports model was celebrated globally as a case study of resilience through sports, where the UNODC, through National Counter-terrorism Centre, packaged Samba Sports work as a global trend setter to be emulated, and was featured in an UNODC’s global guide of how the world can prevent violent extremism through sports.
Mwachausa said that through the sporting initiative, Samba Sports has created direct employment to up to 30 youths and facilitates mentorship and training opportunities to about 55 youth, who are exposed to learning through doing experiential learning.