Amos Abuga @PeopleSport11
Morocco beat Alaska 2-0 to lift the inaugural Kamiti Maximum Prison Seven-aside Inmates Premier League yesterday.
Morocco, boasted of a rich talent pool among them Tedium ‘Teddy’ Rodgers, former Kenyan Premier League (KPL) maestro with Mathare United.
Rodgers was among the first players to be recruited into Mathare Youth Sports Association (fore runner to Mathare United) alongside some of the best players to have graced the local game. Morocco scored their goals through Eric Waweru in the seventh minute and Vincent Kisia in the 12th.
The team managed an impressive 63 points at the end of 24 rounds of matches in the league sponsored by KPL and Zeb Strong Foundation.
“It gives us much hope when we mingle with the outside World, it makes us feel like human beings and therefore gives us hope of a second chance,” said Morocco’s Kisia.
The champions lost twice and had a similar number of draws to finish the season ahead of second-placed Academy (59) while Remands (55) settled for third place in the 13-team league.
KPL CEO Jack Oguda said it was a huge milestone to see the first edition come to an end without any hitch and promised to ensure the league gets even bigger and better in the subsequent editions. “It is not debatable. We have top-notch players within the facilities.
Great ball control
“The quality of play and the goals scored was testament to the talent on display as both teams exhibited great ball control, innovation, accurate passing, and teamwork while defending and attacking,” Oguda told People Sport.
Just like there was a Prison World Cup held in June-July, 2022, Oguda says there will be an equivalent of Prisons Africa Cup of Nations that will run concurrently with the forthcoming continental extravaganza.
Former Mathare United and AFC Leopards defender Antony ‘Modo’ Kimani says getting to bond with the inmates sends a clear message that there is life after serving in the correction centres and goes a long way in helping them first accept their status and also get to integrate with other Kenyans.
Lives of inmates
“I witnessed my former colleagues even people I grew up with getting arrested for different types of crimes. Others were not so lucky, they died in the streets, I feel we have a duty to lift each other up.
“It is also worth noting that not everyone here is a criminal. But above all we have realised the potential football has to change the lives of inmates and we were challenged and inspired by that to something bigger,” said Modo.
Oguda is hopeful he will secure more sponsorship to help in the running of the league before the start of the 2019/2020 season that kicks off at the same time with KPL in August.
The winners were awarded a trophy by Oguda who was flanked by a number of former league player including Kimani and league organiser Joseph Kariuki alias ‘Bishop Karis’ and members of Leadership Journey Group from United States of America (USA).