Two up and coming football stars who emerged as the overall winners of the recently concluded Betway Talent Search, departed for the UK for a much anticipated ‘West Ham United Experience’.
This trip presents the aspiring footballers with the rare opportunity to train with the English Premier League side, watch some of the training sessions, interact with the players as well as get individual training tutorials from them and their team manager. They are also set to watch two of the team’s matches live; a home fixture against Chelsea on Monday 6th March 2017 and an away match against AFC Bournemouth on Saturday 11th March 2017 in Bournemouth.
Additionally, a tour of the London Stadium in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the home of West Ham United, has been organised for them, as well as a sightseeing excursion in London.
“The Betway Talent Search is focused on developing the sport of football in Kenya, identifying new talent and exposing an exciting generation of future football stars to the international standards of the sport,” said Betway Country Manager Wanja Gikonyo.
The two, Mark Nthiwa, a 20-year-old goalkeeper from Githurai, Nairobi, and Moses Gitau, a 21-year-old from Shanzu, Mombasa could not hide their joy as they made their departure to the UK. They will be there for ten days.
“They won for demonstrating strong passion and the will to learn, in addition to their football skill,” added Wanja
This comes after a successful two-month long large-scale training program organised by leading sports betting company Betway aimed at developing football talent in the country. The search hosted about 1600 aspiring footballers from across the country where their skills were tested under the watchful eyes of local and international scouts. The 1600 entrants first participated in rigorous trials held at The Goan Institute, Nairobi on 15th, 16th ,29th and 30th October 2016.
After the initial trials, the top 16 players (2 goalkeepers and 14 infield players) out of the 1600 participants qualified for the next round. This involved a four-day specialised training camp organised in partnership with United Kingdom’s West Ham United and Mathare United – Betway’s newly sponsored partner in Kenya. The camp was headed by Francis Kimanzi, head coach of Mathare United, coaching staff from West Ham United and Kenya’s renowned footballer and Betway brand ambassador Dennis Oliech.
The camp was designed to offer an all-inclusive training regime that sets the groundwork for players, not only in terms of their skill, but also to emphasize all the essential ingredients necessary to develop an elite professional football player.
Mark and Moses were selected by a panel that included Mathare United Coach Francis Kimanzi, West Ham United Technical Football Coach Josh Ewans and Sports Scientist and Training Analyst for West Ham United first team Adam Crossley. The selection was also overseen by a representative from the Betting Control and Licensing Board.
The trip to the UK will not be the end of Mark and Moses football journey. They have also been officially signed to play for Mathare United in Kenya upon their return as they look to make a career for themselves in football.