Nairobi — Barclays Bank yesterday unveiled a Sh30 million sponsorship package for the Kenya Secondary Schools soccer championships for the next five years.
The organisers of the tournament, the Kenya Schools Sports Association, will receive Sh15 million while the balance will be used by the bank to leverage the sponsorship through advertising and other promotional activities, said the bank's retail director Kariuki Ngare during a luncheon at a Nairobi hotel yesterday.
The tournaments will involve 60,000 students countrywide.
"Barclays sees the potential of soccer in Kenya and it is our goal to support the harnessing of a talent pipeline that would make our country a continental soccer power house along the lines of her athletics prowess," he said.
He lamented Kenya's perennial absence from the Africa Cup of Nations but there was need to create a foundation for future stars and that is at school level.
The Director of Quality Assurance and Standards at the Ministry of Education, Enos Oyaya, said the Government today attaches a lot of importance to sports as co-curriculum activities as much as learning.
He wondered aloud like everybody else why the Kenya Football Federation has been unable to harness talent from the schools system.
"We have managed to provide Athletics Kenya with students who go all the way to conquer the world at world youth, juniors and grow up to become champions. The same does not happen with football."
Also present during the launch was Harambee Stars coach Jacob Mulee, team manager Anthony Origi and Cecafa Secretary General Nicholas Musonye.
Kenya Football Federation, were conspicuously absent.
The Barclays sponsorship comes a day after Coca-Cola announced a Sh10 million sponsorship for a schools tournament across the country.
The Copa Coca-Cola starts in Nyeri and Kisumu this weekend and will run until mid next month, mainly covering areas where Coca-Cola has is bottling plants countrywide.
Last Saturday, organisers of another youth tournament - the Vijana na Kibaki soccer championships - announced that 5,200 under-18 soccer teams will compete in the new tournament which concludes later in the year.