Malalah Extends Football Tourney To Four More Counties

In an effort to nurture sporting talent, former Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala has announced the return of Cleo Malalah Super Football Tournament, which will now cover western region counties.

A total 3,500 teams will be registered for the tournament from the 38 constituencies that make up Kakamega, Bungoma, Trans Nzoia, Busia and Vihiga Counties.

“This is a platform to ensure we nurture talent and unite people, we encourage our youths to desist from drug abuse and criminal activities,” said Malalah.

Speaking to the media today, Malalah said the awards have also been increased from the previous Sh1 million to Sh3 million for the winner of the football tournament.

The first runners-up will be awarded Sh1.5 million, the second runners-up Sh1 million and the team that will emerge fourth will get Sh500 000.

The inaugural regional Tournament will be held in Bungoma on a date and venue to be announced with 24 teams participating during the commencement ceremony.

The finals will be held in Kakamega at the Mumias Sports Complex from December 23 to 31 this year.

“We have considered investing in talent development, we are aware that the Kenya Kwanza administration has got the interest of youth at heart. We want to give our youth a platform where they will practice and perfect their talents ahead of the Bottom-up tournament which is coming later this year,” he noted.

In preparation for the tournament, all coaches from the selected teams will undergo training through coaching clinics with all participating teams receiving sports uniforms and balls.

Malalah also said they will organize mentorship programs for team captains and train referees from the region to officiate fair game during the matches.

“We are going to bring renowned successful footballers to talk to our football captains so that they can impart the same positive attributes they have had for a very long time,” he added.

Since the inaugural Cleo Malalah Football Tournament four years ago, Malalah said it has had a positive impact on the youth who have progressed in their talents to international clubs.

He gave an example of Henry Meja Atola who now plays for AIK club in Sweden.

Meja came into the limelight in 2019 while playing during the Cleo Malalah Football Tournament at the Mumias Sports Complex and was signed by Tusker FC.

At the club he continued with good performances that earned him a slot at the National Football Team Harambee stars as a striker. He started playing while studying at Kakamega High School.

“We have many other players we have nurtured through our tournaments. They were playing in local village leagues but are now playing in super leagues and the Kenya Premier League (KPL),” Malalah noted.

“We are doing this as we are aware that the Mulembe nation is a home of football talent. Rift Valley is known for athletics and you will find out that leaders in that region nurture those talents, so it is our duty as leaders from this region to nurture football talent,” he noted.

He spoke after meeting Football Kenya Federation (FKF) County chairs from all the five counties. They were Kelvin Mwangu from Vihiga, Allan Muhando from Kakamega, Hillary Musundi from Busia county and Francis Mayakula from Trans Nzoia County. Bungoma was represented by FKF CEO Caleb Amwayi.

The FKF Chair Trans Nzoia said the planned tourney will help address challenges that footballers from his county face by migrating to Kakamega to play football.

“I was shocked to see most of the players from Trans Nzoia moving to Kakamega to play football due to many tournaments,” he noted.

The Secretary General of Referees in Kakamega Maurice Majani said the tournament has also provided opportunities for referees in the region.

“This is what we want, to engage youth positively. Through this programme we are going to engage and train referees and even coaches so that we uplift the standard of football in western region,” he pointed out.

The Coordinator of Cleo Malalah Super Cup James Saisi says the opportunity is meant to showcase talents from western Kenya and showcase how the region is managing soccer.