15 year old pupil emulates Pele by leading Tamulega FC to victory in youth tourney


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A 15-year-old boy playing for Tamulega FC, Barrack Emuruon, made a major impact when he led his club to a 1-0 victory over Tororo FC in the Lwandanyi Ward Youth Football tournament that entered day three at Kabkara Primary School ground today (Wednesday).

A standard eight pupil of Changara primary school, who replaced  Raphael Nandasaba in the second half,  became reminiscent of the former Brazilian greatest player of all time Pele, who joined the national team at the age of 15.

The Brazilian king of soccer never looked back, leading Brazil to three World Cup victories in 1958 in Sweden, 1962 in Chile and 1970 in Mexico to earn his nation the distinction of keeping for good the  Jules Rimet golden trophy that was later stolen and found melted.

FIFA rules dictate that any trophy donated for the first time will be kept for good by a team when it wins it three times not in succession. No team had achieved the feat until the mighty Brazil. Uruguay won the inaugural Cup in 1930 in Montevideo and 1950 in Brazil.

Italy were the winner in 1934 and 1938, Germany in 1954 before Brazil took charge, only for England to hold brief for the historic moment at home in 1966 with goalkeeper Banks magic.

Jules Rimet who donated the trophy was a French football administrator who was the 3rd President of FIFA, serving from 1921 to 1954. He is FIFA’s longest-serving president for 33 years. He also served as the president of the French Football Federation between 1919 and 1942.

The goal that earned Tamulega three crucial points as they seek to qualify for Saturday’s semis was scored by Nakuru Division One Vickers FC striker Philip Okware in the 10th minute of the gruelling encounter watched by a large crowd, including an ardent soccer fan Olakitar  Papati from Amogoro,  in Teso Teso North Sub County.

With players from both sides displaying fine crisp passes, the diminutive Emuruon said he wants to emulate Lionel Messi of Argentina, who single-handedly led his nation to their third world cup trophy in Quartar in 2022, noting that, he has what it takes to emulate that magnificent feat by his idol.

Messi had remained in the shadows of countryman the late Diego Maradona who was in the 1978 Argentina winning team at home in 1978 before capturing the second victory for his nation in Mexico in 1986 with the famous hand of God goal that nearly severed cordial relations between the two neighbouring countries.

Okware, who netted the lone goal, said his task is to have his home team Tamulega produce the best by nurturing their talents, adding that his ambition is to see Vickers qualify for the National Superleague next season having finished fifth this season.

The teams participating in the tournament organised on a league basis include Kabkara United, Tororo, Lwandanyi, Machakha, Tamulega, Korshandet, Barcelona, and Akobwait.

County Branch League side Kabkara virtually qualified for the semi-finals after beating Tororo 2-0 with goals from Dan Kibet in the 36th minute and Micah Kibiegon in the 70th minute.

Kabkara opened the tournament that started on Monday with a 1-0 win over Tamulega. They settled for a goalless draw against Barcelona in the second match played on Tuesday.

Akobwait FC suffered a setback when they were thrashed 5-1 by Korshandet FC with Titus Simatwa scoring a brace. Other goals were scored by Gerald Wafula, Sammy Barasa, and Joel Okambo.

In their opening match on Tuesday, Akobwait were beaten 2-0 by Machakha with Danson Waswa and Kevin Wekesa, accounting for the goals to dent Akobwait’s hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals.

Tororo FC started the event on a winning note beating Barcelona 2-0 with goals from Joseph Sirai and Kevin Kirui. Barcelona held hosts Kabakara to a goalless draw in their second match. Machakha registered their second victory on Wednesday, beating Leandanyi via an own goal to qualify for the semis.

Kabkara patron James Emunonit is sponsoring the tournament which is co-sponsored by Hassan Gatimwa. The curtain for the one-week event comes down on Sunday with a playoff match to determine the team to take third place

Kabkara United is using the tournament to recruit at least 10 players to bolster the team in the next level of the league they are ready to feature in any league they deem fit by the county leadership.

Gatimwa said the winner of the tournament will receive Ksh5, 000 and a ball with the runners-up taking home Ksh3,000 and a ball. The third-placed team will receive Ksh2, 000 and a ball with other participating teams receiving a ball each.

The top scorer will receive boots the same as the best goalkeeper.

Event organiser Damascas Okanya thanked Emumonit and Hassan for offering to sponsor the event, adding that it will go a long way in tapping talents that abound in the area.

“The event will also go a long way in putting the youths together during school holidays and involve them in meaningful activities. I urge other leaders from the area to emulate the sponsors by availing equipment like uniforms and balls to teams, which are unable to purchase them.

By Gilbert Ochieng

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