Football is a universal sport that everybody likes. If you don’t know anything about the game then you are probably in another planet. Well, talented soccer players are marginalized in rural areas since their talent is always caged in remote areas.
However, Safaricom would like to make sure that talent is nurtured through MPD Academies. Safaricom Limited announced a one-year Kshs.50 million sponsorship of My Professional Dream (MPD) Academies which is a newly launched football talent programme designed to identify and nurture football talent from different parts of the country.
The initiative aims to develop young talent between the ages of 11 and 16 years. They plan to admit 75 boys and girls into an elite football coaching academy within the coming weeks. The project will have a positive impact on talented children since they will use a holistic approach to develop talent.
“This platform will give aspiring footballers a chance to hone their skills from a young age, as well as give them opportunities to display their talents to the right people at the right time and in the right places both locally and abroad,” said Joe Ogutu, Director – Strategy & Innovation, Safaricom.
“We have seen immense talent in youngsters all over the country, and we would like to give them the international exposure that would be provided by the Safaricom Next Generation programme.”
What is My Professional Dream Academics?MPD Academies was founded in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2012 to identify and nurture talent in young athletes from all over the world, and has so far had successful programmes in Dubai, England and Wales. The Kenyan academy is the first full time academy for the brand. It is the brainchild of Team Tours Direct UK C.E.O. Alex O’Neill, a leading organiser of international football competitions and training camps that have over the last two decades exposed numerous players to scouts and agents representing professional football clubs.
“The difference between our programme and other talent searches that have been organized in Kenya is that it takes a long-term approach that is sustainable and goes beyond rewarding an individual player with a short trip to an international football club,” said Terry O’Neill, MPD Academies Chairman.
“The Safaricom Next Generation programme run by MPD Academies targets players from different age groups and is designed to train players month after month as we monitor their progress until they are ready to participate and be spotted in international competitions against other leading academies, such as the English International Super Cup and the Dubai International Super Cup,” he said.
The elite football training academy will offer players coaching at the highest level, with ten leading UEFA qualified coaches – including former international professional coaches from countries such as England, Nigeria and Portugal – expected to be flown in for training and mentorship.
The programme will begin with eight regional try-outs in October before moving on to the National Finals in November where 75 exceptionally talented players will be identified. MPD Academies will then continue their development through regular training sessions and coaching master classes to be held at their Academy in Nairobi from January 2016.
“Just like in the rest of the world, football is a much loved sport locally, and we aim to transform the lives of the youngsters who secure placement into the Academy, as well as influence football in Kenya positively,” said Mr. Ogutu.
Try-outs will kick off in Mombasa on 10th October before travelling to Kakamega, Kisumu, Nakuru, Thika and Nairobi. MPD Academies will be looking to invite at least 200 players to the National Trials, with players being assessed on skill, speed, fitness, agility and their understanding of the game.
Interested players can submit their applications to be invited to the regional try-outs in their preferred regions by filling in application forms available at registration spots to be announced soon or online on www.mpdnextgeneration.com