Eight teams (four boys and four girls’ teams) are expected to battle it out in the Western regional finals scheduled for Saturday 26th to Sunday 27th, at the historical Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega.
In the Saturday’s semi-finals, football fans will be treated to a thrilling tournament between Chakol Queens from Busia County and Brenda Girls from Bungoma County in an opening match before Madira Soccer Assassins, who made their debut in the Safaricom Chapa Dimba this year, take on the regional reigning champions Lugari Progressive in the girls’ category.
Later in the afternoon, The Menace, who are the new Kakamega county Champions, will be hoping to claim the region’s top title against Ebwali Boys from Vihiga as the Busia Champions John Osogo alias JSS battle it out for victory against Bungoma’s Compel Sportif in the Boys’ category.
This follows successful grassroots games that were played across the four counties of Vihiga, Bungoma, Busia and Kakamega that attracted 441 teams. On their journey to reach the regional finals, Ebwali Boys triumphed over Bunyore Assassin with a 4-1 penalty shootout, following a goalless draw in regular time. Simultaneously, Madira Soccer Assassins clinched a 1-0 victory against Maroon Queens in Vihiga county.
In Bungoma, Compel Sportiff and Brenda Girls secured their places in the regional finals after defeating their counterparts Sirare Youth and Kim Girls, with scores of 2-0 and 6-0 in the boys’ and girls’ categories respectively.
From Busia, John Osogo beat The Teen of Hope 1-0, while Chakol Queens bested Kingandole Queens 4-1, with both teams qualifying for the regional finals. In Kakamega, The Menace and Lugari Progressive advanced by defeating Lugusi 5-4 on penalties and Kakamega Starlets 6-0 in the boys’ and girls’ categories respectively.
“After winning the county finals, we immediately embarked on vigorous daily training. I know it’s not going to be a walk in the park, but we’re hoping for the best and praying to win because we aim to play in the national finals. Our goal is nothing less than victory,” said Dickson Simiyu of Brenda Girls.
Valary Nekesa of Madira Soccer Assassins and Brenda Girls’ Esther Mukhwana will all be competing for the golden boots at the regional finals as they all have 13 goals.
“Based on what we have witnessed since the commencement of this year’s Chapa Dimba, there is no doubt that the Western region is truly an epicenter of football in our country. Over 400 teams participated in the tournament and showed remarkable talent right from the ward level. Having successfully concluded the county finals, we are now poised for the regional finals. We are hopeful of a large turnout of fans as they support their favourite teams in the upcoming matches scheduled for this weekend. At Safaricom, we genuinely believe in the transformative power of sports,” said Mr. Peter Ndegwa, CEO of Safaricom.
The winners from each semi-final group will vie for victory in the finals slated for Sunday, where each winning team (boys and girls) will take home KES. 250,000 and book a slot to represent the region at the national finals set for early next year in Nairobi. The runners-up teams will take home KES. 150,000 each. The Best Goalkeeper and Top Scorer (boys and girls) will each receive KES. 10,000. The Most Valuable Player (Golden Ball) will also receive KES. 10,000 and an additional TVET scholarship from Safaricom Foundation.
The weekend matches will be preceded by players and coach clinics at Bukhungu and will involve training on various aspects of the football tournament including the use of GPS wearable vests, which Safaricom has introduced to aid in the scouting of players by collecting data and building on the players profiles during the matches using metrics that are globally recognized and accepted.
“We are also introducing GPS wearable vests which are AI powered, with the ability to record metrics associated with the three foundational pillars of performance: Speed, Distance, and Intensity. It is these three metrics that inform players and their coaches, what limits they can achieve, how regularly they play at their peak performance, how to be better, and areas of improvement. This football technology will allow for structured and objective scouting and coaching of players,” said Mr. Ndegwa.
Safaricom Chapa Dimba aims to provide a structured platform for scouts and coaches to tap into new talent and build feeder systems for the Kenyan football leagues across the country while also training a total of 250 coaches. The football tournament targets young people aged between 16 and 20 years old.