On Thursday 31st May, Kibera football players gathered at Uweza's field at Toi Primary School in hopes of being selected to receive a scholarship to the Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence in Qatar. The Aspire Football Dreams scouting program is the world's largest-ever football scouting program. It began in Africa but has since spread to 16 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
The Aspire program is run in East Africa by Vision 21 Sports Consulting. Uweza met one of Vision 21's staff in 2009 and was able to become one of 100 centers in East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) tasked with recruiting players to go to Qatar. 2012 is Uweza's second year of participating in the program.
|Aspire staff member, Uweza Assistant Team Manager, and Aspire scout|
|Players participated in a series of matches to showcase their talent|
Coach Said, Uweza Aspire Center Coordinator:
"We have held this Aspire program for two years now and I am happy our center produced four players. Last year, only one player was selected so this means we are working hard and we have talent."
"We did have challenges, like the event being held on a school day, which meant that the turnout of players was low. The program asks for players who are 13 years old but if you bring players that age, they are too young so we learned the lesson from last year and brought older players this year. All of the players should continue to believe in themselves and coaches should encourage them."
|From left: Uweza Sponsorship Coodinator Mathew, Uweza TM Stam, Kibera Stars Coach Ken, Uweza Aspire Coordinator Said, Uweza Aspire Physiotherapist Mobi, Uweza Aspire Assistant Coordinator Joash, Uweza Assistant TM Tilen|
"I enjoyed playing today and being selected to go to Kasarani," Charles told me with a big smile on his face. "The advice from our coaches was the best advice. I am disappointed because some of the best players from our team were not selected and they deserved to be. I wish all the players would always follow the coaches instructions, because it helps."
Coach Stam, Uweza Team Manager and Senior Team Coach
"Charles is very lucky but I will express my feelings if he becomes one of the top three at Kasarani. I'm happy our center was able to produce four players and have a lot of talent. The scout mentioned that we have a good team of players which was very encouraging."
|The four selected players, from left: Felix Onyango, Charles Omondi, Joshua Kitheka, and Douglas Nyangareli|
Mathew Musyoka Muema is Uweza's Sponsorship Coordinator. He formerly coached the Uweza Under-16 team and still volunteers as a coach regularly.