NAIROBI – Strathmore Wazee emerged winners of the 3rd edition of Obama Cup. Fourteen teams took part in the tournament an increase from the ten that took part in last year’s edition. The 7-a-side tournament which draws teams from the corporate sector, academia and local communities was hosted at the Strathmore University Sports Grounds, Nairobi.
The teams were divided into 4 pools with the winner and runner-up in each pool qualifying for the quarterfinals. From pool A Strathmore University FC showed their strength and home advantage collecting all 9 points with Kabuku Sundowns from Limuru coming in second with 6 points. Group B saw Strathmore Wazee qualify with maximum points alongside Capital FM while Real Nairobi West SC and Madaraka United qualified from group C. Dam Estate and Arena City FC qualified from group D to complete the quarterfinals roaster.
The quarterfinals were a tightly contested affair with all teams determined to go all the way. Tournament favorites and defending champions Strathmore University FC went down 2-3 on penalties after battling Madaraka United to a barren draw. The second quarterfinal saw Real Nairobi west oust Kabuku Sundowns 2-0. Strathmore Wazee came from behind to beat Arena City 2-1 in yet another exciting match. The last quarterfinal match saw another tournament favourite Capital FM lose narrowly to Dam Estate, 1-2 the final score.
In the semifinals Strathmore Wazee met Madaraka United in arguably the match of the tournament. A 2-2 draw at full-time meant the match had to be decided on penalties with the Strathmore FC veterans emerging victorious thanks to the heroics of their goalkeeper, David Ochieng’. Dam Estate faced the Real Nairobi West in another closely contested semifinal that resulted in a 0-0 draw. Dam Estate sailed through to the final, winning 3-2 on penalties.
After what one could consider an action-packed day, it was clear that the finals would be a tough match between Strathmore Wazee and Dam Estate. Dam Estate were the stronger side for the better part of the match but were unable to convert their chances. The match ended in a 0-0 draw. In the ensuing penalty shoot out Strathmore Wazee edged out Dam Estate 3-2 to lift Obama Cup 2018.
Held under the theme Tackling Unemployment through Sports, Obama Cup seeks to provide a networking platform for participants, spectators, volunteers, organizers and other stakeholders. A key benefit of participating in such events is the development of social capital, which is just as important as economic capital in creating employment and business opportunities among the youth.
The tournament’s project leader, Mr. Brian Wesaala, emphasized on the need to build bridges and networks not only between individuals but also between individuals and community institutions and businesses, “It is only through meaningful social interactions that we will be able to create opportunities for one another. Sports events such as Obama Cup afford us this opportunity”.
Former Kenya international, Stephen Ogos, represented the Kenya Footballers’ Welfare Association (KEFWA). The KEFWA communications officer lauded the initiative and hinted at working together in future editions. George Bwana a renowned football talent manager was also at the event to lend his support.
Sponsorship and Partnerships
For the second year running the tournament was sponsored by OTB Africa, a leading technology firm in the Eastern Africa Region. OTB Africa’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Edwin Seno, was at the event to watch his favorite sport. He expressed his gratitude for the initiative and pledged the company’s continued support in the coming years. The tournament’s marketing and communication partner, TT Ainsley, was represented by Managing Director, Mr. Tony Kimata.
This year also saw increased interest and support from other corporate entities. Emergency Plus Medical Services (Kenya Red Cross) were on hand throughout the tournament. Kenya’s premier online football TV channel, Wadau TV, covered the event (Watch video). Capital FM, one of Kenya’s most popular radio stations assisted in outreach which saw an increased number of spectators from last year.
This year the organising committee was also happy to welcome the support of the Strathmore University Alumni Relations office that contributed greatly to the success of the tournament. The alumni office lauded the initiative and promised to be more involved in future tournaments as the theme bodes well with their mission: Keeping us together.
A key feature of the Obama Cup is its financing model. A crowdfunding campaign is usually held in the run up to the tournament. This year the campaign was able to net a total of KES 201,500 (excluding sponsorship) up from KES 124,000. last year. The complete financial statements can be accessed here: Financial Report.
The medium and long-term goal is to engage more corporate companies as partners and sponsors. However crowdfunding remains a vital pillar for the initiative. As a financing model it helps to create a network of supporters, building on the social capital the tournament provides. The success of the campaign also points to the amount of goodwill available to support initiatives that work towards youth development.
The organizing committee wish to express their gratitude to all who supported the tournament. They took it as a challenge upon themselves to deliver a better event next year.
About Obama Cup
Obama Cup is an annual tournament played in honor of Alan “Obama” Onyango, who met his untimely death in Dar- es -Salaam, Tanzania on the 23rd of January 2015. Obama played for Strathmore University FC and until his death was a student of the institution, pursuing a Bachelors Degree in Business Information Technology (BBIT).
Alan, a budding IT professional had moved to Tanzania in search of employment after failing to secure an
opportunity in Kenya. In 2015, Obama’s teammates came together to organize Obama Cup to celebrate the life of Alan Onyango, network and enjoy the one thing they had in common – football. Last year, 10 teams drawn from academia, corporate sector and local communities participated in the tournament and Strathmore University FC emerged winners.
Congratulations to the participants, spectators, volunteers, organising committee and sponsors for a successful tournament!