By Feverpitch Reporter
The second round of finals of the Safaricom Sakata Ball Regional tournament gets underway on Saturday at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru, where 10 teams will meet.
The event follows the successful first Sakata ball tournament in Mount Kenya region, where Taqwa FC from Isiolo emerged victorious. The teams from Rift Valley region will battle it out in a knock-out competition, whose winners will bag Sh100,000 and the right to represent the region in the national finals in August in Nairobi.
Runners-up team at the regional level will take home Sh50,000. The teams that won in their centres and will be battling for the regional supremacy include Molo Secondary (Molo), Finch Secondary (Londiani), Eldama Ravine, Gilgil All Stars (Gilgil) and Karangita Stars (Naivasha). Other participatants in the weekend tournament starting at 8am are FC 105 (Eldoret), Mwenge FC (Nakuru), Yanga FC (Nyahururu), Egerton FC (Njoro) and Kinangop Totals.
The winning team and the runners-up will also receive a fully-kitted bag containing a tracksuit, a full set of uniform and boots for each player. In addition, the best goalkeeper, best striker and the best player will each receive a token of Sh10,000.
According to the Assistant Tournament Director Patrick Korir, all is set for the event in Nakuru and legendary players from Nakuru have been invited to grace the occasion and will be engaged in selecting the best goalkeeper, player and striker of the day.
Those invited are Nakuru’s veteran and former Harambee Stars and Scarlet player Ambrose "Golden Boy" Ayoyi. Ayoyi played for the National team Harambee Stars between 1979 and 1987 and was voted the ninth Best African Player by a French Magazine French-Football in 1987.
Others expected are Nahashon "Lule" Oluoch and former Harambee Stars coach Sammy Nyongesa, who both live in Nakuru.
On the day of the tournament, the organisers have put in place a Sakata village running separately to engage the fans with various activities, including penalty shoot-outs, table football, human football and a Hall of Fame place, where profiles of some of the legendary players will be on display. Among the players on the Hall of fame will be Peter Dawo, Denis Oliech, Macdonald Mariga, Allan Thigo, Josphat Mulira and JJ Masiga.
Fans who purchase Safaricom airtime will qualify to take part in the photo shoot at the Hall of Fame section and get the pictures instantly.
The tournament is being rolled out through a partnership between Safaricom and Ligi Ndogo, an organisation that has made a name for running a successful children’s football league franchise. The tournament aims to provide a platform for tapping and nurturing new football talent from the grassroots.
The tournament is expected to feature a total cash prize kitty of Sh1.5m, with some Sh0.5m going to the winning team at the national level.