Football is a sport of the masses and should be affordable to all, Amos Otieno ‘Wakili’ the leading contender for the post of FKF Nairobi East branch chairmanship has said.
Football Kenya Federation is scheduled to hold its long-awaited elections, twice nullified by the Sports Disputes Tribunal, starting at the county level on September 19. The national elections will be held on October 17.
Ahead of the polls, Otieno, better known as Amos Wakili said football teams in Nairobi have continually been priced out of the game via prohibitive participation fees thus locking most of them out of the game.
“Football is a mass sport. Historically, it has provided a sure root to prosperity not only for talented youth from humble backgrounds but also across all the society strata irrespective of status,” the University of Makerere–trained lawyer said Tuesday.
“I was born in Korogocho, one of the most disadvantaged slums in Nairobi. I grew up playing football at no cost and saw my talented childhood friends make a career out of the game.
“Sadly, over the years the game has been priced out of their reach. Nairobi East was always the hot-bed of football tournaments open to everyone. You cannot say the same today. Estate football was the thing back then. It is where we started our football.
“All primary school grounds were a beehive of activity every weekend and during school holidays,” Amos Wakili said.
He added: “If elected, I will take the game back to the people. The trend now is the game is locked up in the so-called academies, which is not a bad idea. However, those who cannot afford to pay to be in the academies, and they in their thousands, should pursue their dream via estate football.”
Amos Wakili’s call has received the support of renowned coach and chairman of Kenya Football Coaches Association, Bob Oyugi.
“Even before the new coronavirus disrupted sports activities, there was a noticeable decline in estate football. The reasons are diverse, but I agree with Amos Wakili that participation fees have discouraged most teams,” Oyugi said.
He added: “Let us go back to estate football where kids played for fun but in the process got noticed. For instance, Canon Apolo Primary School field in Mbotela produced players like Ouma Jakaranda, St. Paul’s, Ofafa Jericho Primary, Jerusalem, Makadara, St. Michael, Dr. Krapf, Bahati Primary where Patrick Maggi, and Peter Kenneth trained.