Starthmore University FC emerged winners of the 2017 edition of Obama Cup. The students beat Strathmore Wazee (Strathmore University FC veterans) 2 -3 on post-match penalties. The final was a tightly contested affair ending in a one-all draw in regular time. The winners took away a cash prize of KES 20,000 while the first runners-up took home KES 10,000. Dam Estate FC took the second runners-up spot after beating Madaraka United FC 0 -2 in the third place play-off.
The one day tournament held under the theme “Tackling Unemployment through Sports” brought together 10 teams drawn from academia, corporate sector and local communities. Strathmore University FC and Young Lawyers Association represented the academic community while the corporate sector was represented by Consolidated Bank, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), KPMG and National Bank of Kenya (NBK). Dam Estate FC, Madaraka United FC and Red Giants represented the local communities. Red Giants travelled all the way from Embu-Mbeere, some 136 km away from Nairobi to participate in the tournament.
Participants lauded the Obama Cup initiative that is aimed towards bringing together the different players in society to address a key issue facing many youths today – unemployment. Towards this end, players were encouraged to interact both on and off the field, to exchange ideas and opportunities both within and outside the sports arena, including business ideas, career opportunities advice etc. Players and fans also expressed their satisfaction with the organisation of the tournament, congratulating the project team for a job well-done.
The tournament’s main sponsor was OTB Africa, a leading technology firm in the Eastern Africa Region. OTB Africa’s co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Mr. Edwin Seno was at the event to lend his support. Also in attendance was Mr. Peter Ouko of the “Crime Si Poa” initiative and Mr. Tony Kimata of TT Ainsley, the tournament’s communications partner.
While presenting the awards, Mr. Seno congratulated the tournament’s organizing team and pledged his support for future tournaments and similar initiatives. He encouraged participants to continue taking sports seriously for their personal as well as professional development. In line with the tournaments theme, the OTB Africa founder informed participants of opportunities available at the technology firm and encouraged students to work towards fulfilling their potential in both sports and academics. He was keen in working with the students through an internship programme recently launched by OTB Africa, in order to prepare them for the highly dynamic technology industry.
As noted earlier Obama Cup 2017 managed to attract one sponsor – OTB Africa. The rest of the budget was supported by a crowdfunding campaign that was held in the run up to the tournament. This relatively new approach to raising funds normally for start-up companies proved to be an effective approach, netting a total of KES 124, 000. (sponsorship included) from supporters of the initiative. Speaking on behalf of the tournament organizing team, project lead Brian Wesaala, was grateful for the support received, recognising the willingness of society to participate in the development of youths through sports. The complete financial statements can be accessed here: Financial Report.
Mr. Wesaala encouraged all to continue working together by sourcing for ideas and opportunities among each other. He noted that most of the services provided before and during the tournament were sourced from former Strathmore University players (Strathmore Wazee) and their contacts. Former Strathmore University students and players also lauded the spirit demonstrated by all in making the tournament a success. Former Harambee Stars (Kenya’s National soccer team) captain, Mickey Weche, was also full of praise for the tournament held in honour of one of his players, the late Allan “Obama” Onyango. The Strathmore University coach called for the expansion of the tournament as it could also serve as a platform for identifying talent. The organizing team promised to look into this as well as other activities that could improve the overall experience of the tournament.