By Kenn Okaka
The just concluded first edition of Sakaja Super Cup was unique by all standards, compared to other tournaments which are normally sponsored by political leaders and individual.
With the biggest pay cheque, which was paid out soon after the tournament concluded on Tuesday 19th December, Sakaja Super Cup offered great chances for upcoming players to showcase their talent and get an opportunity to land bigger clubs professionally.
The best of the best were feted for their exemplary performance in the three months tournament on Thursday, December 21, 2023.
And as the dust settles, an incisive look at the tournament indicates nothing by a unique tournament. The tournament insisted on focus on upcoming players who have not played in the top league divisions.
It was not your ordinary tournament, it carried with it great organization, a top prize money compared to other off season tournaments and by the virtue of being played during the leagues short break, top coaches had the chance to give an eye on rising stars who can get signed in the next transfer window. The players in the tournament had be registered with Football Kenya Federation. They had to be from teams not participating in the FKF Premier League of the National Super League. The tournament barred players in top leagues from playing giving an opportunity to upcoming players. It was not a one off tournament as it was played over a span of three months with teams playing more than 12 matches.
Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja promised to be supporting the clubs with affiliation fees for them to play in their various leagues as well as play in the tournament. He has noted that he would like to see the teams advance and will therefore keep supporting them participate in the league while playing in the tournament during the league breaks.
Trade Chief Officer Sakaja’s administration was deployed to offer free financial consultancy to the teams which went into the Quarter finals with a keen interest on advising the potential winners of prize moneys on investment ideas, a thing that is out of the norm with other tournaments.
Unlike other tournaments, Sakaja Super Cup was a unique opportunity for upcoming players to not only market themselves but also win money that can help them in other various endeavours. Players still in school can pay fees and those in business can get into expansion.
The tournament, ending in success, pilled pressure on Governor Sakaja to complete the construction of stadiums around Nairobi.
Joe Kadenge Stadium, Woodley Grounds, Dandora Stadium and Mwiki grounds will be completed before the next edition of the Sakaja Super Cup.
With better facilities, the tournament will be bigger and better. It was a unique tournament and as football stakeholders in Nairobi we thank Governor Sakaja for the opportunity he gave to the youth to play and showcase their skills. It was a tournament whose winners were awarded promptly unlike in another similar tournament where the winners were never awarded.
The tournament insisted on using FKF structures whereby, on;y organised teams playing in Nairobi leagues had the chance to play bringing into it professionalism. This organizational structure indicates that the tournament was not just another tournament to drum up support for politicians. Several players from the tournament already have interests expressed by several top clubs to signing them.
To organise a tournament of such magnitude where to prize money went to nearly Ksh 10 million and putting in place brilliant organisational structures not only indicated a move from the usual but a new beginning towards a better future for the upcoming players who can have a opportunity to excel and develop their talent.
Kenn Okaka is a Media and Communications consultant