Hundreds of young athletes left with smiles on their faces as they walked away with their long-awaited cash awards from the inaugural Talanta Hela Under 19 tournament.
Held at the Nyayo National Stadium and concluding on December 12, 2023, participants from Busia, Kisumu, Homabay, Vihiga, and Kakamega counties received their rewards at the County Commissioner’s offices in Kisumu.
Starting at the grassroots level across all 47 counties, the tournament saw 16 teams—8 from each gender—qualify for the nationals in Nairobi.
Homabay County emerged victorious in the boys’ category with a thrilling 4-2 win over Kisumu, while Busia claimed the girls’ title with a 2-1 victory over Kisumu.
Now, slightly over a month later, the successful teams have finally reaped the rewards of their hard work. Initially delayed due to some players’ bank details, the cash awards are now being disbursed, with 30% of players providing their information. Kenya Academy of Sports has started the process in the Central Rift and Western regions.
Kisumu captain Emmanuel Owino expressed his joy at finally receiving the money, thanking CS Ababu Namwamba for facilitating the process. Owino highlighted the satisfaction of leading his team to victory in the inaugural tournament at a young age. He expressed optimism about their chances in the upcoming year, aiming to retain their title.
“I am very happy that today I am finally collecting my money. I want to thank CS Ababu Namwamba for making this happen. I will pay my school fees and help my younger brothers who are struggling at home.
“We hope to go one step further and retain our title this year,” Owino said.
Plans are already in motion to enhance the vibrancy of the second edition and expand the tournament to include more disciplines.