NAIROBI, KENYA – Strathmore University FC emerged winners of the 4th edition of Obama Cup. The tournament attracted 14 teams one less than the previous edition. Gava FC took second place while West Ham was third after beating Madaraka United FC in the play-off. This year saw the introduction of the bowl competition, which was won by St Paul’s University FC. They beat National Bank of Kenya. The tournament was hosted at Strathmore University Sports Complex. It is worth noting that this is the first Obama Cup under The Football Foundation for Africa banner.
As is the tradition with Obama Cup, teams were drawn from the corporate sector, academia and the local communities. The corporate sector was represented by KPMG, National Bank of Kenya, Switch TV, E-Plus Medical Services and Capital FM. From academia, we had Strathmore University FC, Strathmore Young Turks FC and St Pauls University. Community teams were represented by West Ham, Strathmore Wazee, Gava FC, Madaraka United FC, LXLG Sports Academy and Diamonds FC.
The teams were divided into two pools of 7 teams each. The top 4 teams in each pool qualified for the quarterfinals of the main competition while the teams finishing 5th and 6th would proceed into the semi-finals of the bowl competition. The goal was to keep the teams engaged throughout the day both on and off the pitch.
Pool A was tightly contested with KPMG emerging top with 12 points beating Strathmore Young Turks on goal difference. Strath Wazee finished 3rd with 11 points while Madaraka United FC completed the top four with 10 points. Young Lawyers Association of Kenya and St Pauls University finished 5th and 6th respectively to earn their place in the bowl competition. LXLG Sports Academy finished 7th.
In Pool B Diamonds FC began as clear favourites displaying great football and dispatching their opponents with ease. They finished top of the group after collecting 5 wins and a draw. Strathmore University FC took second place with 14 points while West Ham United was 3rd with 9 points. Gava FC beat National Bank of Kenya to the 4th spot with a solitary goal separating the two teams. Both teams finished with 8 points. NBK was joined by E-Plus Medical Services in the Bowl competition, with Switch TV finishing bottom of the group.
In the quarterfinals, Madaraka United FC stepped up their game to beat tournament favourites Diamonds FC 2 goals to nil. Gava FC edged out KPMG 1 – 0 while Strathmore University FC eased past defending champions Strathmore, 3 – 1 the final score. The last quarter-final saw West Ham United and Strathmore Young Turks battle to a barren draw. West Ham won 2 – 3 in the post-match penalties.
The semi-finals saw Madaraka United FC paired against Strathmore University FC while Gava FC was up against West Ham. The university students were the stronger side in the first match, beating Madaraka 2 – 0. The second semi-final was hotly contested with very little to separate the 2 teams. Newcomers to the tournament Gava FC managed to beat West Ham 1 – 0 to set up a mouth-watering final with Strathmore University FC. Neighbours Madaraka and West Ham battled for 3rd place.
Owing to fatigue and time pressure the bowl final between National Bank of Kenya and St Pauls University failed to kick-off. The trophy was awarded to the university side. The 3rd place play-off of the main competition pitting West Ham against Madaraka United ended in a stalemate. West Ham won the penalty shootout. 3 – 2 the final score.
Strathmore University FC and Gava FC treated the crowd to a great final with chances on both sides. The university side got their lucky break when tournament top scorer Elvis Osodo managed to beat the best goalkeeper of the tournament, Dalmas Otieno. Rogers Mathew of Strathmore Young Turks was declared the best player of the tournament.
Football for Development
Football world over is recognised as a great convener and multiplier. The Football Foundation for Africa seeks to exploit this power to create opportunities for as well as address the overall well-being of youths. Obama Cup is more than a football tournament. In line with its theme Tackling Unemployment through Sport, Obama Cup seeks to create opportunities for all its stakeholders, including players, fans, sponsors and partners among others. This edition of Obama Cup brought on board two key partners to support its mission.
Obama Cup Skills for Life Workshop
Obama Cup 2019 was preceded by two days Project Management – Skills for Life workshop. The workshop was facilitated by Janet Mbula and Karolina Letowska, volunteers from PMI Kenya and PMI Switzerland, respectively. The initiative was lauded by participants as a great initiative and a welcome move by the organisers. Attendees were helped to understand project management principles that can be used to improve their daily private as we as professional lives.
Further, the workshop is seen as a way of injecting professionalism into the football industry right from the grassroots level. The 19 participants were drawn from the tournament’s community of stakeholders including the organising committee, participating teams, partners and sponsors. The workshop was opened by PMI Kenya president, Clement Kitetu, who was keen to collaborate further and create more strategic engagements between sport and the project management practice. This is a sure way of promoting growth in the industry and ultimately creating opportunities for the youth in Africa.
Physical activity benefits health and Obama Cup 2019 like other sporting activities provided participants with an opportunity to do just that. However, health goes beyond physical activity and in some cases, physical activity can even pose a risk to the health of participants and the community at large. In an effort to provide a more holistic approach to health FFA partnered with Bena Care Kenya to provide medical screening services for participants. The services offered included VCT Services, RBS Testing, Blood Pressure Monitoring and health talks. Over 130 participants undertook the screening against a target of 100 demonstrating the convening power of football in driving community development initiatives.
The platform also provided Bena Care with an opportunity to create awareness about its services. Bena Care is a social enterprise considered the most reliable and cost-effective provider of home nursing services across Kenya. The company offers a number of services including nursing, physical, occupational, speech-language therapy, disease and pain management among other services associated with health and medically related service.
The most popular stand during the day was Baberia Cuts Kenya whose staff were on hand to provide professional wellness services to players and fans alike. Their staff were kept busy with the regular flow of tired muscles needing a rejuvenation. Baberia Cuts were no doubt excited to be part of the action and are keen on attending the next edition. Champions Strathmore University FC has also been invited for a treat at the high-end barber shop!
Promoting local industries
Alive and kicking were also on the ground to showcase their products. The company is the only hand-stitched ball maker in East Africa with the aim of keeping adults in employment. Obama Cup 2019 was proud to have Alive and kicking as the official ball suppliers for the tournament. Feedback from players and officials indicated that the balls were of a high standard. Participating teams also expressed interest in sourcing balls from Alive and kicking. Most were of the opinion that they were well suited for local pitches.
From the organisers perspective, it is important to source locally in order to promote growing industries and assist them in achieving world standards of quality. Alive and kicking Business Development Manager Sheba Nyaronga was happy to be at the tournament to see her products in use. The Football Foundation for Africa is keen to use the balls in future tournaments and also promote their use in other competitions and countries.
This edition of Obama Cup was privileged to have 2 media partners, Capital FM (radio) and Switch TV (television). The two partners were instrumental in the outreach efforts ensuring the tournament received coverage on their respective digital and social media channels. Project Leader and FFA CEO also had the opportunity to speak on Capital FM’s Saturday Music and Sports further amplifying the tournament’s theme and the organisation’s mission.
For the 3rd year in a row, Obama Cup was sponsored by leading IT firm, OTB Africa. OTB Africa CEO Mr Edwin Seno was on hand to close the two days project managed workshop and also graced the knockout phase. He reiterated his support for the initiative and lauded the organisers for yet another great tournament. He also pledged to support members of his team who attended the project management workshop to continue with their professional development.
The Obama Cup – OTB Africa partnership is a true demonstration of creating shared value (CSV) where private entities invest in sport for development initiatives and in return, they are able to strengthen and grow their businesses. This is a slight departure from the traditional CSR model.
This year the tournament was also supported by the Strathmore University Alumni Office who took up the bronze sponsorship package. The wider Strathmore University family has also been of great support throughout the years and their contribution is invaluable.
A key feature of the Obama Cup’s financing model is the crowdfunding campaign usually held in the run-up to the tournament. This year the campaign was able to net a total of KES 222,500/- up from KES 201,500/-. last year. Crowdfunding has enabled the initiative to build a valuable network of supporters and remains a vital pillar. Looking forward, we plan to enlist more corporate support while we continue to grow our network of individual supporters. Further, we will be looking into ways our supporters can also benefit from our initiatives transforming them into investors.
The organizing committee wishes to express their gratitude to all who supported the tournament. We also take this opportunity to congratulate the winning team Strathmore University FC. We look forward to a bigger and better Obama Cup 2020.
The Organising Committee
The tournament’s organising committee continues to do an outstanding job in realising this annual event. The committee is constituted as follows:
- Morris Gitonga – Logistics
- James Kombo – Media and Marketing
- Kevin Kusimba – Finance
- Jamal Mohamed – Partnerships
- Kevin Omondi – Logistics
- Michael Owiti – Academia Liaison
- Toddy Thairu – Legal Matters
- Brian Wesaala – Project Leader
The Football Foundation for Africa wishes to congratulate the team and thank them for their efforts. The committee works on a volunteer basis.
It was a great honour to have the late Alan Onyango’s family well represented at this year’s event. Alan’s brother Marvin Agumba (National Bank of Kenya) has been a regular participant at the tournament. This year he was joined by Alan’s father Mr Nehemiah Onyango and Alan’s partner Selaine Jomo together with their 2 children Furaha Jomo and Sankara Jomo.
Mr Onyango was full of praise for the initiative, citing it as a great show of strong friendship. Selaine was equally appreciative of the efforts the organisers have made to keep the tournament going and promised her full support. The organisers were thankful for their presence and support and have committed to working closely with the family to ensure a lasting legacy.
About Obama Cup
Obama Cup is an annual tournament played in honour 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 Bachelor’s 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 January 2016, Obama’s friends and teammates came together to organize the first Obama Cup to celebrate the life of Alan Onyango, network and enjoy the one thing they had in common – football
About the Football Foundation for Africa
Born out of Obama Cup, The Football Foundation for Africa (FFA) is an international social enterprise seeking to drive investment into the development of grassroots football in Africa. Our ultimate goal is to create employment opportunities while at the same time enhance the employability of the youth in Africa through football. The organisation works within 3 key pillars, namely: Education, Infrastructure and Governance.