Rodgers Ndegwa @NdegwaRodgers
Worldwide, sports has been used to keep the youth busy and at bay from drugs and criminal vices and in Kenya it’s not any different. Football in the country has long been associated with hooliganism especially when the two teams with the greatest following in the top-flight clash.
But for Kitengela-based side, Savannah Cement FC they try their level best to rehabilitate the youth indulging in drugs and crime by bringing them on board to their youth football side. The team was founded in 2013 as a youth club and quickly rose from the lowest league, which is the County League and play in the Division One League, which is the third tier in the country.
In 2015, despite lifting the division one trophy they failed to advance to the National Super League (NSL) since there was the heated debate of promotion and demotion of teams from the top –tier league.
Players in the club have not been demoralised by the incidence since they know their club is a talent feeder to the Kenyan National team in the Under 17 and 20 categories respectively.
Since its formation, at least 10 players have featured for the National Team with Ibrahim Onangwe, Zidane Ochieng, Kenneth Mukuria, Telvin Njeri and Sebastian Njoroge been among the players to don the national team jersey from the club.
Savannah Cement Marketing manager Joseph Mugambi who also doubles up as the team’s coordinator noted the company formed the football club as a way of giving back to the community and develop football in the region and keep the youth engaged.
“Over the few years we have injected over Sh30 million to the team in order to ensure things run smoothly and the players can concentrate on practice and playing only.
We plan to set-up youth camps over the April, August and December holidays to keep the youth in Kitengela and its environs engaged as we try and nurture their football talent,” said Mugambi Brian Ochieng, Gideon Alucheri, and Antony Gathu who have joined NSL sides Talanta, Kangemi All Stars respectively and KPL side Wazito are some of the players who begun their career in Savannah.
Savannah’s assistant captain peter Njoroge quipped his team’s main goal is to join the NSL come the end of the season. “Despite coming from different backgrounds and different pasts we all play as a team. We all want to see our goal which is to play in the NSL and finally in KPL realised,” said Njoroge.