Sports plays an integral part in any child's development. It instills and teaches the need for discipline, It keeps the mind fresh for academic excellence, It keeps the young ones, and even the not so young, away from various ills of life. It also presents itself as an alternative career path. These are the reasons a group of seven Kenyans founded the Khwisero Sports Academy, to give the youth of Khwisero in Kakamega county a sporting Chance.
Kenyanstar sat down with the academy's Patron and program coordinator, Gibson Amenya Nabuteya.
KS: Kindly introduce yourself to our readers?
My names are Mr. Gibson Nabuteya Amenya. I work at Level Moja Capital services where I provide advisory services to agribusiness farmers. I'm also a founder member, Patron and program coordinator of the Khwisero Sports Academy.
KS: Tell us about the Khwisero Sports Academy?
Khwisero Sports Academy, located in Khwisero Sub County, Kakamega County, The Academy began its operations in February,2014,It was founded by 7 people 3 women and 4 men.
Mr William Omulindi former footballer with Pan Paper Webuye is the current khwisero Sports Academy Chairman, Mr Peter Amwayi, a primary school teacher, has been a legball trainer for the last 8 years, Mr Samue Aloyoo currently a teacher with Khwisero Primary School and volleyball trainer at the center, Mrs Pamela Weche currently a teacher at Namasoli Primary and Khwisero Sports Academy Netball Coach, Venah Misango a teacher at the center and also a volleyball coach, Mrs Anne Mumia is a former employee with Kenya Breweries and currently life skills trainer at the center. Mr Gibson N Amenya is the center patron and programmes coordinator.
The academy besides attempting to secure high school scholarships for our pupils, we also train them in Football, Legball, Volleyball , Cricket and recently begun Lawn Tennis.
KS: Why did you choose this location for your academy? And why these sports?
It's a central place within this sub-county. It's easily accessible with relatively better means of transport. Then of course there is also the availability of enough training fields, security and social amenities such as water and a health center nearby.
Football, Legball are popular games hence it was easier to encourage more kids to join the academy with these as the lead sports.
KS: What are the key objectives of your academy?
We intend to Introduce professional sporting to children in this area at an early stage. We also inform and educate our students that sports nowadays is a profession like any other such as teaching.
KS: What are some of the programmes you are running in this academy?
We teach Life skills to young ones so that they can avoid drugs, early pregnancies and also bring social cohesion among the young people of this region. Use of alcohol and marijuana has contributed to high level of insecurity in Khwisero. With high level of poverty most children drop out of school mainly because their parents cannot afford basic requirements to keep their children in schools. For the girls then it becomes easy to lure them into early marriages because of lack of alternative means of decent life. The boys turn to drug abuse and criminal activities. We are hoping to increasingly reduce these eventualities.
KS: What challenges do you face in running of this academy?
With the ever increasing number of kids, We have a shortage of equipment and human resources as kids have grown from 23 in 2014 to 78 kids in 2017. The Equipment i'm talking about are; training kits, balls, bips, rackets, nets, sports shoes and for cricket we need guard shields for players. In terms of Human Resources, Currently we have 3 voluntary teachers who cannot effectively manage the rising number of children. At the moment at least 7 coaches will be ideal.
KS: What have been some of the successes of the academy so far?
A social change among the kids and improved self esteem among the players. We have successful secured half secondary school fees to kids joining form one in schools such as Butere Girls, Butere Boys, St Peters Mumias, Rehema Girls, Mukuyu Secondary, Wiyeta Girls, Kisumu Boys, Kakamega High School, Chebuyusi Boys and Mundika High School. Our Under 15 Girls team took third position in Kisumu Youth Ladies Tournment that was held in Kisumu as from 17-21 April, 2017. The Boys team are Khwisero CDF under 14 Champions 2016.
Under The scholarships program, the Academy takes part in primary schools games where coaches from various secondary schools such as Butere Girls, Butere Boys and Kakamega High School attend. These coaches identify players and engage us to have these players in their school when time comes.
For instance, Butere Girls will give us a minimum score where should the player attain the score in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education and can raise at least ksh 10,000 per year for four years, they will admit her in their school.
Kisumu Girls in 2016 gave us 4 positions and the girls only paid ksh5,000 each. Of this 5000, the khwisero CDF gave us ksh 3,000 per child. So you can see it becomes a little bit easy for the child.
Kakamega High School has given us two full sponsorships this year provided the players sustain good academic performance as they play football.
Chebuyusi on the other hand have given us full scholarship of 4 years for the players they select. The players just have to buy their personal effects and must also have a minimum of ksh 1,000 as pocket money.
KS: What is the long term plan for the academy?
We hope to establish the center as a world class institution that can identify, transform and develop talent of each child, create a venue where potential employers and teams can source human skills from.
KS: How do people(kids) enroll to the academy? Do you have age limits or any other limits?
Normally regular trials are carried out across various primary schools within Khwisero Sub County and interested children with the consent of their parents and guardians are allowed to join the academy. The Age we accept is from 7 years and above
KS: What are the basic things taught to new recruits of the Academy?
We instill in them that Every Child has the ability to be a great person in future and that the key to that is discipline and hard work.
KS: What is the source of funding for the academy?
We get our resources from personal donations and friends.
KS: What is your general view of sports in Kenya?
Sports in Kenya is yet to be taken serious as new venture for jobs and opportunities for Kenyans, stakeholders should now commoditized sports and have it traded just like business people buy and sell sugar, milk, medicine, vehicles, land.
KS: Which is your favorite sport and team?
Lawn Team and players such as Serena Williams and Roger Federer
KS: What would you say is the state of LawnTennis In Kenya?
It is gradually growing but a lot is needed from all stakeholders, lack of public awareness has made uptake of the sport at grassroots to be very low.
KS What is your parting shot to our readers?
My Parting shot is that It is possible, if we unite as Kenyans, to change this country through sports and help create jobs for the youth. So let us all play our part in our respective positions and make this dream real.