The Kenya National U13 Football Team are the winners of the Inaugural Southampton Cup U14 Shield Tournament. The team made history by becoming the first ever national junior side to win silverware in Europe, edging out Ormer 2-1 in the Shield finals.
“We are happy that we won,” said Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Technical Director Andreas Spier
“However it is important to note that for us, winning is not the most important thing at this level as we are mainly focused on the development of the players. This tournament has provided a vital learning process that we will use back home to try and bridge the gap between ourselves and some of the top Academies in Europe,” explained the Technical Director
Earlier, FKF CEO Robert Muthomi had termed the tournament a step in the right direction saying “The Federation remains committed to developing youth football and it is our belief that this trip marks a new chapter for Kenyan youth development”
“We are extremely grateful to SportPesa and Southampton Football Club for making the trip a reality, this even as we strive to continue leveraging on SportPesa’s overseas partnerships to underpin football development in the country
Kenya’s U13 Captain James Gachago expressed joy on the team’s performance saying “I am not only happy that we have won but I’m also grateful to the federation for making this a reality.” said Gachago
The Southampton Cup, which was inaugurated this year, will be an annual eight-day International Youth football tournament. The tourney, which consists of boys and girls teams from across the globe is hosted by Southampton FC
This year’s tournament saw over 40 teams from around the world register for the same, amongst them top European Academy sides that included FC Porto, Chelsea FC, GNK Dinamo Zagreb and Real Club Deportivo de La Coruña, with Kenya being the only national team in the eight-day tournament
About the Kenya U13 National Team
The Kenya National U13 Football Team was selected from teams that participated in the 2016 FKF U13 league that was played in 43 Sub Branches and attracted a total of 16,789 players registered in 1,348 clubs that took part in the same
In addition, the league was played in 14 out of 20 FKF Branches and in six out of eight FKF regions, making it one of the most successful youth programs in the country
Thirty-four players scouted during the league were selected to form part of the first ever National U13 Football Team, with the squad cut to 20 for the Southampton Cup Tournament
Unfortunately out of the 20 selected three did not make it to Southampton due to a delay in the processing of their Visas.