Kenya’s Under-13 team will face off with European football giants Chelsea FC and FC Porto in the Southampton Youth Cup which began on Saturday in the United Kingdom South Coast.
The young Kenyan side picked after a rigorous scouting exercise by the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) will be in Group B of the eight-day tournament where apart from Chelsea and Portugal’s FC Porto, they will also face off with local side Newport from Isle.
FKF named a squad of 20 players led by Technical Director Andres Spier and they left for the United Kingdom on Sunday, arriving in the wee hours of Monday morning.
The Kenyan team will have an opportunity to play alongside top professional academies with the tournament hosted by English Premier League club Southampton’s Youth Academy attracting teams from Croatia, Spain and Portugal.
“This is a great opportunity for talented players from all over the country to have this kind of exposure as early as possible in their careers. Previously it has only been a select few from the rich academies who have gotten that opportunity to go out because they can afford it. Now, an open opportunity has been presented,” FKF head of Youth Football Chris Amimo said.
The completion brings together 40 teams and Southampton seeks to make the tournament a key fixture in the calendar for youth football club around the world with the intention of bringing some of the most talented young players to the region for a festival of football.
Southampton Football Club’s Global Development Manager Matt Sanger hopes that the tournament will breed a crop of new stars.
“We ‘are very excited to welcome teams from countries such as USA, Canada and Kenya to the Southampton Cup, alongside clubs from countries with a strong history of youth player development such as Croatia, Spain and Portugal,” Sanger said, speaking to the Southampton FC official website.
Brian Odhiambo, Ali Abubakar, Harel Gil, Kahindi Nyale Hamisi, Joseph Kamau, Robby Kahindi, Adam Syau, James Gachago, Mwakitare Nimrod, Mzungu Japheth, Joseph Munala, Wayne Odhiambo, Oduor Wycliffe, Byron Ochieng, Omondi Kennedy, Omondi Stanley Ben, Owande Elly, Umar Rajab, Brian Kamau, Wangaya Kevin.