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15 boys from Thika, shortlisted to team for Barcelona football academy.

A section of the participants of the Monday football trials and their coaches at the Thika Cloth Mills Grounds.
15 young talented footballers from Thika and environs might enjoy success and developed into the next generation Messis, Iniestas or Busquets of world after they were shortlisted to join Barcelona Scuola programme in Karen Nairobi beginning Monday next week.

Qualifiers from the Dec 11-15 camp in Karen will go to Spain in early 2018.

Barcelona Scuola East Africa is the FC Barcelona Academy with wings all over the world scouting for the best young raw talent.

This academy is a football talent programme designed to identify and nurture football talent who, if lucky, will join top Spanish La Liga Teams like Barcelona, Real Madrid and so on.

In a mini tournament organised on Monday at the Thika Cloth Mills grounds by MEC Santos FC, a junior team based at YMCA Thika and headed by William Ndung'u, four teams of 30 players each participated.

The event was organised in 3 categories of children under-8, under-12 and under-14 years. Players in each category played against each other with the best talent being spotted.

Among the teams who participated included MEC Santos from YMCA Thika, Blue Tigers from Kiandutu Slums, Thika Sporting from Kiganjo (Kimuchu) and Kabati Youth from Murang'a County.

Despite playing on a barefoot, Anthony Ndichu from MEC Santos managed to make it in the luck list of 15, who if successful in Nairobi, will be lucky to travel abroad for further trials and possible recruitment to Spanish clubs.

Anthony, who lives in Kiandutu slums, is 13 years old, and sat for his KCPE this year scoring 325 marks. MEC Santos is busy looking for supporters locally and abroad to take him to high school.

Speaking at the event, Barcelona Scuola Head Coach (Academy) Mr. S. Shah said he was very impressed by the talent and encouraged them to work hard to achieve their goals.

He promised to make further follow up to tap more talent in Thika.

From here, the organisers now plan to have a 3-day soccer tournament that is sponsored by the Central Memorial Hospital with great support from FKF Aberdares Branch Chairman, Chege Njeri.

The tournament kicks off officially on Friday and ends on Sunday. Winners will take home goodies in form of soccer uniforms, boots and new balls.

Bidco Africa has donated 3 balls to be used during the tournament but has promised more support in future.

“Our attention now shifts to trying to prepare the players for the Nairobi fete as we hope to participate in other international tournaments both locally and God willing, internationally,” remarked William Ndung'u who is the brains behind all this talent search.

MEC Santos provides young children from humble backgrounds the opportunity to participate in coached football training sessions as well as matches and tournaments with other teams from the region. Currently, the team is coached by Ivan Lopez, a Spanish coach from Barcelona.

The coach notes that the tournament provided a good platform for the youngsters to showcase their talents and even hinted that a number of the players caught the eye of possible suitors in Europe.

For Coach Ivan, it was a great day connecting with his favourite club while in Kenya and seeing more children take the first steps to learn the strong and unique footballing culture of Spain.

Meanwhile, Thika’s own Stephen Waruru, a talented striker who plays for Ulinzi Stars. Waruru is engaging on the possibilities of playing in Spain next season. 

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