Growing up as a kid, I used to love soccer, which was triggered by my late dad who was a sportsman (he played hockey and soccer). My dad used to take us to the big matches to watch him play and sometimes watch other top clubs play in the national stadium.
This isn't the same for all the kids, most of the parents' time is hugely consumed in fending for the family daily needs. Talking of grass-root soccer majority of the kids are enrolled into teams that are managed by young coaches who can only provide limited support, especially providing a ball for the team.
On the other side, organizations that deal with soccer activities are also overwhelmed by the growing numbers of talented kids whom they can't find space to promote to the next levels because of the required resources. This situation has left many talents untapped unlike in Europe and America where there are good structures to support the talent from a younger age while also linked to the education system.
|My son Adrian Kalotu 5yrs - at early stage of spotting|
Even though there are some little signs of hope in some soccer academy models coming up in Nairobi, many deserving kids from informal settlement still can't afford the fees to attend the trainings.
In my pursuit of finding where do we need the most support, I came to realize that there are three stages in talent development as follows:-
- Spotting stage
- Nurturing stage
- Promotion stage
This stage involves identifying what the kid likes. In some cases it might come out from what you expose the kid. The only best way to realize this is to spend quality time with the kid and empathize without forcing anything into them.
This is where you buy him/her the required kits. This is an inspirational moment to discover and also join other kids with the same passion. Promotion Stage This stage requires more exposure for example, playing in a competitive league, get enrolled to a professional academy, more local and international exposure. Not forgetting building career, following the passion and turning talents into a meaningful profession that will earn them a living as professionals.
It is unfortunate most kids in the informal settlement don't pass beyond the spotting stage due to lack of adequate support from both the government and the private sector. My vision is to help the kids to go through the three stages successfully through Wilsen Initiative (Wi) platform.