International Kenyan football stars, Victor Wanyama signed to Tottenham Hotspurs and McDonald Mariga signed to Real Oviedo will launch the ‘Under 16 Wanyama Roya Charity Cup’ in Nairobi, Kenya in a tournament set for 30th June and 1st July, 2018, in partnership with ROYA Entertainment. The 2-day event, targeting under-16 players, will be held at St. Mary’s High School along James Gichuru Road between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. on the Saturday 30th June and between 1 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Sunday 1st July. This is the first edition of Under 16 Wanyama Roya Charity Cup Tournament and from here on it will be held annually in all Kenyan counties from 2019 with the finals been held in Nairobi.
Ahead of a press conference to officially launch this initiative (planned to take place at KICC’S Shimba Hills Room Friday 29th June 2018 from 1 PM, Wanyama says: “I am happy to be back in Kenya and to launch this tournament with my big brother as it’s something we have dreamt of for a long time. Majority of players in our country lack information on how to build careers that can sustain them past their active football careers and make wrong decisions after their retirement.” Mariga adds, “With the milestones we’ve made in our individual careers, I am confident that we can teach the young a few tricks. We would like to use this platform to inspire the next generation of young stars to make better choices and break this cycle.’’
The knockout tournament will be an 11-a-side set up with a total of 24 teams drawn from various neighbourhoods within Nairobi including Kangemi, Lavington, South C, Mathare North, Kahawa Sukari, Ruai, Gigiri and Kaloleni, among others. Each team will have a maximum of 20 member players who must be under the age of 16. Cash prizes of Ksh. 500,000, Ksh. 300,000, Ksh. 100,000, and Ksh. 50,000 will be awarded to the 1st, 2nd 3rd and 4th teams, respectively. Participating teams have already been selected through an on ground mobilization.
The under-16 tournament seeks to sensitize the youth, more so budding players, on the importance of investing into a healthy lifestyle focusing on key pointers like health, nutrition, and education, as a way of developing professional careers that attain longevity.
Wanyama Roya Charity Cup comes before a planned countrywide tournament tour and a mentorship program that will recruit young children from around the country and offer them training, education sponsorship and health covers from NHIF. The initiative also plans to rehabilitate former football stars that have since fallen to vices after the end of their prime football years.