Safaricom wants more women to participate in soccer talent scouting competition Chapa Dimba as the telco’s signature tournament returns after a three-year pause due to Covid-19.
The Fourth edition of Chapa Dimba that will run from June 3rd to February 14 next year returns with a bigger winning prize of Kes20 million up from Kes10 million as the competition sets sights on producing talent for international scouts in Spain and America.
Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa said participants will also be selected to go into technical colleges as a new feature introduced this year.
“We are going to all the eight regions all the 47 counties we will have 32 of the final winners from across each of the regions going to Spain, so 32 people going for a ten-day boot camp,” Mr Ndegwa said.
“We are doubling the prize money, which used to be Kes10 million, we are going tot take it to Kes20 million. We are also going to be sponsoring 150 of the top winners a ross each county to TVET institutions for a technical course of their choice,” he said.
Safaricom Chapa Dimba is a national grassroots football tournament with the Football Kenya Federation that was launched in 2017 to give young people (boys and girls) aged 16-20 a platform to showcase, nurture and earn from their talent.
The tournament aims to provide a structured platform for scouts and coaches to tap into a vast resource of upcoming talent and build feeder systems for the Kenyan league nationwide, while training 250 coaches.
The tournament averages 40,000 players from over 1,600 teams playing over 6,000 games that has seen tens get selected to play in top league and the national team.
When the tournament was first launched, 21 players got scouted for the Kenya National U-21 in the first season, with the winners going to London for an exciting football experience.
In the second season, 15 players were scouted to join Harambee Starlets. Three players also received scholarships to the US and Sweden.
Mr Ndegwa said this tournament will hopefully see Kenyan get scouted to play in top international teams as well.
“We hope to build a pipeline of talented players, who will play within Kenya just like we have been doing in the past but also start to be scouted for going a broad so the top two will actually go to teams in Spain and eventually the US,” Mr Ndegwa said.
Benson Omala, 21,who was brought up in Nyamasaria slums in Kisumu, saw his career take off courtesy of Chapa Dimba, emerging as regional and national top scorer in the 2019 edition as a player for Manyatta United.
In addition to a first ever trip abroad to Spain as part of the Chapa Dimba na Safaricom All-Star team, he penned a professional football deal with KPL side Western Stima.
“I am from the slums. And in the slum there are many vices. So, I decided to follow my passion, take this path, so as to change my life and that of my family. I can honestly say that football pays,” says Benson Omala.
“In Chapa Dimba you play in different levels, there is huge competition and great exposure. There are scouts hunting for talent and if you are talented, you can be picked to play in the top flight league or in the National Super League. Chapa Dimba has played a huge role in my football career,” he adds.