Talanta Hela National U-19 Inter-County Football Tournament showcases Kenya’s Youth Sporting Prowess
Written By James M Alumera and Sammy Ngatia
In August 2023, the Talanta Hela National Under-19 Inter-County Football Tournament kicked off its journey from the grassroots, transcending through ward, Sub-county, County, and Regional, and culminating in Nationals. Hon Ababu Namwamba, with a vision to transform talent into a thriving industry in sports and creative spaces, spearheaded this initiative.
The pool games, featuring both boys and girls teams, saw intense competition, leading to the crowning of the first-ever champions for the Talanta Hela National Under 19 Inter-County Football Tournament.
Homabay County Boys emerged victorious, defeating Kisumu 4-2 in the finals. Nakuru County boys team secured the fourth position, narrowly losing 2-3 to Vihiga County at the Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi, on December 12th during the Jamhuri Day Celebrations.
In the girls’ category, Busia County outclassed Kisumu County 3-1 claiming the championship. Meanwhile, Homabay County Girls secured third place, beating Uasin Gishu County 4-1 in the U-19 inter-county national finals.
The champions walked away with an impressive prize purse of Sh5 million, while the runners-up received Sh3 million as a consolation prize.
Despite Kisumu County’s heart-wrenching loss in both the boys’ and girls’ finals, their players dominated individual honours. Austin Otieno and Mercy Amwomo secured the ‘Golden Boot’ accolades, with Mercy Akoth winning the Best Gloves award. Homabay’s Felix Reagan clinched the boys’ ‘Golden Boot.’
Busia’s Lorna Faith and Vihiga’s Austin Odongo Musa were recognized as the Most Valuable Players in the girls and boys categories, respectively.
The high-profile event, graced by dignitaries such as President William Ruto, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi, Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba, Homabay Governor Gladys Wanga, and Uasin Gishu County Governor Jonathan Bii, celebrated the incredible talent displayed on the field.
Josephine Atieno, the County Executive Committee Member for Youth, Sports, Gender, and Social Services, commended both teams for their outstanding performances. Pastor Alex Maina, the County’s Chief Officer for Youth, Sports, Talent, and Resource Mobilization, applauded the players for their stellar performance in the Talanta Hela U-19 inter-county games.
Looking ahead, the Talanta Hela Initiative is set to continue next year, aiming to nurture talents at the grassroots level and tap into untapped opportunities for young people