|Soccer made at Migingo|
|Monday, 13 June 2011 16:31|
By Francis Ontomwa,
Mention the word Migingo and what comes to the mind of many is the standoff that has become the fish rich island. The seven lettered word conjures the thoughts of controversies that have continued to simmer from both the countries of Kenya and Uganda for close to two years now over who owns the acre piece of land. With the emergence of fresh cracks in yet another nearby island Ugingo, the impasse seems far from over.
However, behind this gridlock is an inspirational story of two young adults with an ingenious plan that could change the fortunes of many young talented footballers in the region. Two youths, Francis Ontomwa (the writer) and Pinto Okowa have laid down frameworks to start a local league that is set to run in the next three months.
The league dubbed ‘Muhuru Youth Football League (MYFL)’ is set to commence mid this month with a total of eight teams already registered for the championship. Muhuru Bay is a small center situated at the shores of Lake Victoria in Nyatike constituency, Migori County. The main economic activity here is fishing with a majority of locals being Luo and Suba speakers.
The brainchild behind the plan is the need to give youths from the region a platform to parlay their talent and open them avenues for top flight football. What started as just an idea now seems to have taken shape so fast with fresh prospects of sponsorships in the offing. “We sat down one afternoon and the idea emerged” narrates Okowa. “We used to meet at Customs’ grounds to train Senye Secondary School for the term two football championships and during this time, we would be joined by many youths seeking to be allowed into play”
“And it’s on such occasion that we asked ourselves, what if?” A programme that includes the league’s constitution has already been finished awaiting dispatch to participating sides. The rules of the World’s football governing body (FIFA) will apply in the league though closely tamed to new special rules that have been drafted to fit the scheme of things.
To facilitate the success of the league every club has solicited funds from individual players, funds that are expected to attend to an array of needs such as a sprucing up programme for the stadium facilities to be used. A total of three grounds have been established to host the league with Customs grounds being the main stadium.
For a start, the organizers have identified three experienced referees who have volunteered to steer things before the league matures. “It is so much encouraging to our side as organizers, everyone seems to have bought the idea from the players to the officials and it appears all systems go!” says an upbeat Okowa.
The programme is also set to impart character change among youths from the region and enlighten the youth on matters HIV/AIDS, a disease that has continued to water down the potentiality of many youths in the region. “We want to use football to preach to youths the need to live responsibly so that talents don’t go down the pan. Football and discipline are inseparable” notes Okowa.
“Our main call now is for likeminded corporate bodies and individual sponsors to stand up to be counted so that the league could flourish and get better” Okowa is a former under 14 international player having made a single appearance for the team. He is also a product of the Kenya Premier League (KPL) side Thika United talent search programmes.
Francis Ontomwa (the writer) is a scribe with one of the country’s fastest growing sports website Kenyanstar and a local weekly sports publication Pepeta. He is also a member of technical staff at Masinde Muliro University football team (MMUST).