By Johnson Chengo
Malindi Sub-County beach soccer teams have asked Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba to intervene and root out cartels who were ruining the sport.
The team comprising of players and officials said cartels were taking advantage of the youth to siphon money during tournaments sponsored by the government.
They said the move is unfair and should be investigated.
Beach soccer is emerging as a key sport in the country and some of the players in Malindi have been selected to represent national team in Ghana and Tanzania but were reportedly given only Sh. 1500 after the games.
The beach soccer which has for years been played at the Malindi beach front is targeting to promotes soccer and prevent youths from getting into drugs abuse.
They said trouble started after they were evicted from the Buntuani beach football pitch and forced to set up their own ground after the management of Buntuani water front park claimed the area was meant for tourists.
They said whenever there are tournaments, cartels take over the task at their expense and take advantage of the youth to control all the funds allocated by the government hence leaving them with just small amount that cannot sustain them.
Speaking at Baobab beach soccer ground, Jamaal Hassan the Organizing Secretary of Malindi Talent Beach soccer said they are the founders of two beach football pitches at the Beach front one which he now said has been turned into a park for private business.
He said for years they were playing beach soccer at the now Water front park but when the project kicked off it became a private property and the ground only is opened when there are tournaments.
“We had to come and set up another beach ground with the help of the area MP who financed the development of the ground and sponsored two tournaments. CS Aisha Jumwa also came to our Aid in the development of the new beach soccer ground,” said Jamaal.
He said they have so far done seven tournaments in the last six months.
He noted that for the last six months there are five youth who were hooked to drugs but have now quit and are concentrating with sport.
“There are 10 youth who had dropped out of school but after engaging them through counselling they returned classes. We urge our president Wiliam Ruto and all those involved in sports sector to intervene and bring sanity in the game,” he said.
He said the ground was used by three sub counties including Kilifi North, Magarini and Malindi.
Salah Ali the Chairman of Malindi Talent Beach soccer said the County and National Government are not aware of the injustices being done in the beach soccer.
He said at the county level whenever tournaments for inter counties are arranged the authorities do not come to the ground to consult the management of the teams.
He said the move gives room for cartels to siphon the funds into their pockets.
“Why should beach soccer funds be given to tycoons, the CEC member for Sports in Kilifi should intervene because after the tournaments the tycoons leave the management of the teams to us,” he said.
Suleiman Mutari a beach soccer player said they are happy to see the revival of beach soccer as they were very idle and lacked any support from the leadership.
He said without beach soccer its very easy for youth to be engaged in drug and crime which has been a challenge at the coast region.
The Organizing secretary revealed that there are three types of teams including under 15, under 18 and over aged.
He said Over aged they have 16 teams while under 18 they have 12 teams together with 13 teams for under 15.