Uprising edge Ayany out to clinch Ramadhan Cup
By Joe Ombuor
Nairobi, Kenya: It was an end of Ramadhan like no other for residents of Kibera who thronged Woodley Grounds on the periphery of the sprawling slum to watch a football match between their own Ayany FC and Uprising FC from Majengo slums over the weekend.
The entertaining match that promised to go either way saw the two youthful sides fight it out to a barren first half before Uprising’s versatile Sheikh Elmi breached the Ayany defence to beat a hawk eyed Sadiq Cornell between the goal posts.
Earlier, Sadique who remained agile throughout the match, had pulled off brilliant saves that earned him applause from the home crowd. Ayany ‘s frantic efforts to level failed to bear fruit.
The match ended in a 1-0 score for the Majengo-based youngsters and was graced by a galaxy of leaders, among them Kibra MP Ken Okoth, who hosted the event, Embakasi South MP Irshad Sumra, Embakasi East MP John Ogutu Omondi, and Westlands MP Tim Wanyonyi, who was the guest of honour.
Others were Nairobi businessman and politician Fred Amayo, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Secretary Robert Asembo, Harambee Stars Team Manager Gabriel Olang, Gor Mahia FC Captain Jerry Onyango and Charity Munyori, the branch manager for Kibera Equity Bank, who donated the Cup.
Presenting the Ramadhan Cup to the victorious team, Mr Wanyonyi called for more support for teams at the grassroots, describing them as the cradle for future stars. He urged the Nairobi county government to plant grass on the pitch whose surface is bare and bumpy.
“Besides, sports keep the youth busy and help draw them away from negative activities spawned by idleness such as drug and alcohol addiction,” he said, adding that sports had proved an effective tool to enhance peace.
Giving the example of Mathare United, a slum side that has produced leading stars, Wanyonyi said the sky was the limit for youngsters determined to excel in sports. He said Ayany and Uprising had the potential to join the national football league in future.
Mr Okoth urged big clubs to scout for talent from teams at the grassroots as a way to inspire players.
“We shall in future organise such competitions more frequently and include disciplines like netball, volleyball, basketball and other games to tap talent,” he said.
Mr Asembo said his federation encouraged and supported initiatives to discover and nurture talent at the grassroots level.
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