There is hope for the resumption of football Mtaani activities in the country even as stakeholders await the joint declaration of the new guidelines and regulations by the Ministry of Health and that of sports.
This is following President Kenyatta’s directive during his Labor day address last weekend that sporting activities may return upon review of regulations by the above-mentioned ministries.
Sporting activities came to a halt following a raft of measures announced to contain the spread of Covid-19 third wave in March.
Apart from the mainstream top and second-tier leagues, community football has equally suffered as the upcoming talent took a break in their efforts to follow set out guidelines.
Just before the second suspension of sports in March, Bangbet, Kenya had organized the Bangbet Champee wa Mtaa tournament where the winning team Kipaji FC walked away with the grand price of Sh200, 000 as 1st runners up AV Fitness was awarded Sh100, 000 and Bundes Fc ranked 3rd position getting Sh75, 000.
Such tournaments held in Kibera and other regions in Nairobi attract great interest from neighboring communities where the participating clubs represent.
The Bangbet Champe wamtaa tournament attracted over 3000 fans who rallied behind their different teams.
All participating teams benefitted from jerseys and balls which with the hope of the resumption of sporting activities help them pick up team training and hopefully other corporates will join in to push community football even further through such competitive tournaments.
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Speaking to the Standard Sports, Kipaji Soccer Academy head coach Feisal Hassan said they are relieved and happy the government lifted the sports ban and many youths who were benefiting from the numerous football tournaments can play again.
“Times have been rough and tough since the pandemic kicked in. A lot of things have changed beginning from how games are played to how games get watched and most importantly the game financing because there have been few organized tournaments,” Feisal Hassan said.
“Covid 19 has brought a massive loss to the sports industry though teams keep practicing and hoping for things to get better with time.”
Fans equally remain optimistic that the pandemic will sooner than later be managed to finally allow them inside the stadiums as their favorite teams take part in major competitions.
“Watching my home boys play football was part of my routine because I enjoy watching them grow and follow their dream but now I cannot anymore because of the covid-19 restrictions,” said Omollo, a Kipaji FC fan.
“The emptiness can be felt while we play with no audience or our fans. One of the biggest challenges is having matches and rehearsals cancelled and this obviously brings our spirits down but we keep pushing regardless of the challenges,” AV Fitness captain David Ochieng said.
Community football has over time been credited for bringing down the rate of crime within Nairobi neighborhoods as most youths engage in constructive sporting activities thereby avoiding idleness, drug and substance abuse.