Over 20 teams converge in Nyeri as they eye Jamhuri Cup finals

Nairobi county under-19 soccer team goalkeeper Boaz Muchiri also a student of Highways Secondary School practices at Nyeri Primary School, November 15, 2023. Talanta Hela playoffs begin on Thursday at the same venue. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

Over 20 teams will battle for the Jamhuri Cup as the Talanta Hela tournament playoffs kick off on Thursday morning.

Nairobi, Machakos, Kakamega, Mandera, Kisii, Kwale, Kirinyaga, Mombasa, Kiambu, Nakuru, Laikipia, Uasin Gishu, Isiolo, Marsabit, Embu, Nyandarua, Busia, Homa Bay and Migori counties were pooled in various under-19 boys and girls teams.

However, Isiolo was bungled out of the tournament on condition of anonymity was a disciplinary issue for fielding ineligible players.

Established through a presidential directive on Jamhuri Day, last year, the Talanta Hela tournament aims to tap into the youthful local talent at the grassroots level and host annual tournaments where the top teams will feature at the Jamhuri Cup finals to be held at Moi Sports Center - Kasarani on December 12.

"As the Kenya Sports Academy and in coordination with the Ministry of Sports we are keen on pooling together young and promising players who we will then put through an intensive training program where they will be molded into elite players who can be called up for national or international duty, in future," said James Theuri, Officer in charge of talent development, Kenya Academy of Sports.
Kwale County under-19 boys team will be up against Homabay County in the opener on Thursday morning while in the second match of the day, Kirinyaga County will take on Nakuru County in Pool A.

"We are in a new territory where a couple of things come into consideration. Moreover, a change of altitude for my boys is a major factor but before the kick-off, we will prepare them mentally to ensure that they start and finish strong," said Ali Marumu, Head Coach of Kwale County.

The region has been experiencing heavy rainfall for the past couple of weeks with occasional sunshine breaks.

Pool B on the other hand will see Mandera County face will be back on the field against Nakuru County on Friday.

In the girl's segment, Group A is composed of Migori, Laikipia, Uasin Gishu, Busia and Marsabit Counties.

While Group B will include Kiambu, Homabay, Nyandarua, Mombasa and Machakos Counties who will be battling it for the eight slots, four boys and four girls teams will advance to the finals.

Kenya Football Federation(KFF) sanctioned referees will officiate all the matches to ensure the highest level of sportsmanship is upheld throughout the five day tournament.

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