Kakamega

By Collins Matubwi

The first edition of the Barasa Foundation Football Tournament was undoubtedly one of the most successful tournaments in the region that was gender inclusive and helped in unlocking the hidden talents and the potential amongst the vulnerable Kenyan youth.

Contrary to other soccer tournaments, the Barasa Foundation Football Tournament was the first in history to incorporate both male and female teams. By doing so, the girl child got an opportunity to showcase their talent.

Barasa Foundation Patron Fernandes Barasa

 The tournament was also the first in Western Kenya to monitor, identify and recruit promising football stars and starlets to a Sports Academy established by the very foundation and later link them to reputable football clubs both locally and abroad. They are exposed to professional training by renowned footballers and coaches.

Barasa Foundation Patron Fernandes Barasa

Despite the challenges faced in first edition, the tournament ended on January 3, 2021 and subsequently set the pace for realistic and passionate dedication towards talent appraisal.

The finals attracted constituency champions across all the 12 sub counties of Kakamega County.

Barasa Foundation Football Bonanza

Over a thousand teams participated in the tournament and those that made it to the finals include : Kona rangers from Likuyani, Lumakanda combined (Lugari constituency), Lirhembe Arsenal (Ikolomani, Maroon commandos (Khwisero), Namundera FC (Navakholo) and Rangers FC from Lurambi constituency.

 “Boniface Ambani a renowned football coach was the chief scout during the tournament who identified 100 best players who have since joined the Barasa Sports Academy,” said Mr. Barasa

Others are Selection FC (Shinyalu), Shibembe FC (Butere), Lukova FC( Malava),Mung’ang’a FC (Mumias East), Umri (Mumias West) and Solofa FC from Matungu constituency.

Barasa Foundation Football Bonanza

The women teams included Isulu Starlets (Ikolomani), Misango Queens(Khwisero), Sihanikha Red Queen’s (Navakholo), Classic FC(Likuyani) Lugari Progressive (Lugari), Maraba FC(Lurambi), Selection Starlets(Shinyalu), Ematende Queens(Butere), Butali starlets(Malava), A-step Queens (Mumias East), Black Starlets (Mumias West) and Mwira girls from Matungu sub county.

Boda bodas donated by Barasa Foundation

The Maroon Commandos of Khwisero constituency braved a stiff tussle to claim the top prize of Sh1.2milion plus a trophy and other sports equipments whereas Solofa FC of Matungu came second and won Sh0.6milion, sports equipment and a trophy in the inaugural Barasa foundation football tournament.

Barasa Foundation Football Bonanza

 The Maroon Commandos outwitted Solofa FC 2-0 during the finals that were played at Mumias Sports Complex.

Butali Starlets from Malava Sub County were second runners up and received Sh100,000 whereas Wembe Starlets from Lugari got Sh50,000. They were the third runners up in the tournament.

Rangers FC from Lurambi were the second runners up and took home Sh300,000 and All Stars from Malava Sub County got Sh100,000. Unlike in other competitions, all the winners received their cash prices on the spot.

In the female championships, lethal Lugari Progressive from Lugari Sub county went home with Sh0.5milion, a trophy and sports equipment after humiliating Matungu Mwira FC 3-1. Mwira FC came second in the female championships and received Sh0.3milion alongside sports equipment and a trophy. 

Butali Starlets from Malava Sub County were second runners up and received Sh100,000 whereas Wembe Starlets from Lugari got Sh50,000. They were the third runners up in the tournament.

In his view, Barasa Foundation Patron Fernandes Barasa who doubles up as the Chief Executive Officer at Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) said that the foundation has gone a long way in ensuring the tournament is not just for entertainment purposes but meant to nurture talents of  the local youths languishing in poverty.

Barasa Foundation Football Bonanza

 “Boniface Ambani a renowned football coach was the chief scout during the tournament who identified 100 best players who have since joined the Barasa Sports Academy,” said Mr. Barasa

Mr Barasa said that the youth require to be empowered on alternative ways of raising income as opposed to seeking white-collar jobs, adding that nowadays talent is a lucrative industry and one of the highest income earning professions globally.

Apart from sporting activities, the Barasa foundation has invested in community empowerment programmes like supporting infant businesses, empowerment of the girl child, paying fees for the very vulnerable, constructing houses for the less fortunate and  purchase of over 200 motorcycles to youth groups.

Through his philanthropic work, he has also been able to sponsor choir competitions for churches among other charitable events.

Dr Ofweneke during Barasa Foundation Football Bonanza

According to the Executive Director of Barasa Foundation Dr Janet Kasili Barasa, the foundation is objected to achieving its core pillars that will see the vulnerable groups (women, youth and PWDs) benefit.

Dr Janet Kasili is a senior lecturer at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (Mmust).

Barasa Foundation Football Bonanza

She says it is a high time for people to work not just, because it is their profession but because they love what they are doing. This is achievable by investing in talent appraisal.

Mr Barasa however insists the need to distant politics from such charitable programs.

Fernandes Barasa – Ketraco CEO

Ends

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