SAFARICOM PARTNERS WITH UNICEF TO ADVANCE SAKATA BALL'S BEST TALENTS

Nairobi, July 26th, 2011…Safaricom has entered into a partnership with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) aimed at nurturing and exposing youth football talent in the country.

The partnership will see 36 of the best footballers, both boys and girls, picked from the ongoing Safaricom Sakata Ball Challenge 2011 admitted into the UNICEF-sponsored National Youth Talent Academy for a six month professional training and coaching.

At the academy the  youth, 22 boys and 14 girls, will go through intensified football training from highly qualified coaches for further development and exposure to the local and international market. The ultimate goal of the tournament is help the youth realize their full potential and make a decent living out of their talent.

Sakata Ball is a Safaricom property aimed at creating a platform through which local soccer talent can be unearthed and showcased to the national and international audience.

The nationwide tournament now in its second year targets youth within the Olympic age between 17 and 23 years right from the grassroots.

Under the partnership, the 36 best players will join the academy after the Sakata Ball National Finals to be held towards the end of next month.  Talented youth who are still at various levels of their education, will be incorporated through the existing talent centres all over the country under a partnership with the Ministry of Education.

The signing ceremony was presided over by Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore alongside UNICEF Kenya Deputy Country Representative Dr Juan Ortiz at the Safaricom headquarters.

Mr Collymore said Safaricom would continue engaging the youth in activities, projects and programmes that positively transform their lives and give them a strong economic and social footing into life.

"The youth and future generations are a central part of Safaricom's engagement with its stakeholder ecosystem. We have geared most of our brand properties and initiatives towards empowering the youth as we value their central role in underpinning Kenya's future," said Mr Collymore.

A total of 2,059 teams (1,526 boys' teams and 533 girls' teams) are taking part in the Safaricom Sakata Ball Challenge 2011. This is a huge leap from the 1,057 that participated last year.

UNICEF has been part of the Safaricom Sakata Ball 2011 since launch in February this year. NYTA coaches have attended all past regional tournaments, scouting for talent to join the academy.

The Safaricom Sakata Ball also enjoys the support of Kenya's most celebrated names in football, legends that put Kenya on the international map in their heyday. These include Joe Kadenge, Allan Thigo, Mohamoud Abbas, Austin Oduor, Josephat Murila, James Siang'a, Bobby Ogolla and Peter 'Bassanga' Otieno, among others.

With over Sh3.5 million up for grabs in cash and prizes, Safaricom Sakata Ball 2011 is a buildup to the hugely successful inaugural tournament last year whose products have joined top flight clubs in Kenya and beyond.

Among the success stories that immediately come to mind include Abdimalik Mohammed formerly of Taqwa FC who proceeded to play for the national under-20 and senior Harambee Stars sides, before he was signed up by Gor Mahia. He is currently undergoing trials in the UAE.

Antony Mbugua of Bukembe FC, which lifted the 2010 national trophy was called up to Liberty Academy in Nairobi, a branch of the Liberty Professionals in Ghana which has produced the likes of Ghanaian greats Sulley Montari, Michael Essien and Asamoah Gyan.

The 2011 edition is a much improved version since it has incorporated girls for the first time. The tournament has also gone to eight regions across the country as opposed to six it combined in the inaugural tournament. Also increased is the play time. Just as was the case in 2010, tournament logistics are being handled by nationally acclaimed lower league organizers, Ligi Ndogo, which has partnered with Safaricom in the initiative.

About Safaricom

Safaricom offers total communications solutions to a growing clientele in Kenya. With a subscriber base of over 17 million, Safaricom provides a comprehensive range of services under one roof: mobile and fixed voice and data services on a variety of platforms: Kenya's widest and only 3G network; a growing fibre optic cable footprint and its most expansive WiMax presence. Safaricom also pioneered commercial mobile money transfer globally through M-PESA, the most successful such service anywhere in the world.

For further details please contact:

Wachira Kang'aru, 
Public Relations Manager, 
Tele: +254 722 003973
Cell: +254 722 574424
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Nairobi, July 26th, 2011…Safaricom has entered into a partnership with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) aimed at nurturing and exposing youth football talent in the country.

The partnership will see 36 of the best footballers, both boys and girls, picked from the ongoing Safaricom Sakata Ball Challenge 2011 admitted into the UNICEF-sponsored National Youth Talent Academy for a six month professional training and coaching.

At the academy the  youth, 22 boys and 14 girls, will go through intensified football training from highly qualified coaches for further development and exposure to the local and international market. The ultimate goal of the tournament is help the youth realize their full potential and make a decent living out of their talent.

Sakata Ball is a Safaricom property aimed at creating a platform through which local soccer talent can be unearthed and showcased to the national and international audience.

The nationwide tournament now in its second year targets youth within the Olympic age between 17 and 23 years right from the grassroots.

Under the partnership, the 36 best players will join the academy after the Sakata Ball National Finals to be held towards the end of next month.  Talented youth who are still at various levels of their education, will be incorporated through the existing talent centres all over the country under a partnership with the Ministry of Education.

The signing ceremony was presided over by Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore alongside UNICEF Kenya Deputy Country Representative Dr Juan Ortiz at the Safaricom headquarters.

Mr Collymore said Safaricom would continue engaging the youth in activities, projects and programmes that positively transform their lives and give them a strong economic and social footing into life.

"The youth and future generations are a central part of Safaricom's engagement with its stakeholder ecosystem. We have geared most of our brand properties and initiatives towards empowering the youth as we value their central role in underpinning Kenya's future," said Mr Collymore.

A total of 2,059 teams (1,526 boys' teams and 533 girls' teams) are taking part in the Safaricom Sakata Ball Challenge 2011. This is a huge leap from the 1,057 that participated last year.

UNICEF has been part of the Safaricom Sakata Ball 2011 since launch in February this year. NYTA coaches have attended all past regional tournaments, scouting for talent to join the academy.

The Safaricom Sakata Ball also enjoys the support of Kenya's most celebrated names in football, legends that put Kenya on the international map in their heyday. These include Joe Kadenge, Allan Thigo, Mohamoud Abbas, Austin Oduor, Josephat Murila, James Siang'a, Bobby Ogolla and Peter 'Bassanga' Otieno, among others.

With over Sh3.5 million up for grabs in cash and prizes, Safaricom Sakata Ball 2011 is a buildup to the hugely successful inaugural tournament last year whose products have joined top flight clubs in Kenya and beyond.

Among the success stories that immediately come to mind include Abdimalik Mohammed formerly of Taqwa FC who proceeded to play for the national under-20 and senior Harambee Stars sides, before he was signed up by Gor Mahia. He is currently undergoing trials in the UAE.

Antony Mbugua of Bukembe FC, which lifted the 2010 national trophy was called up to Liberty Academy in Nairobi, a branch of the Liberty Professionals in Ghana which has produced the likes of Ghanaian greats Sulley Montari, Michael Essien and Asamoah Gyan.

The 2011 edition is a much improved version since it has incorporated girls for the first time. The tournament has also gone to eight regions across the country as opposed to six it combined in the inaugural tournament. Also increased is the play time. Just as was the case in 2010, tournament logistics are being handled by nationally acclaimed lower league organizers, Ligi Ndogo, which has partnered with Safaricom in the initiative.

About Safaricom

Safaricom offers total communications solutions to a growing clientele in Kenya. With a subscriber base of over 17 million, Safaricom provides a comprehensive range of services under one roof: mobile and fixed voice and data services on a variety of platforms: Kenya's widest and only 3G network; a growing fibre optic cable footprint and its most expansive WiMax presence. Safaricom also pioneered commercial mobile money transfer globally through M-PESA, the most successful such service anywhere in the world.

For further details please contact:

Wachira Kang'aru, 
Public Relations Manager, 
Tele: +254 722 003973
Cell: +254 722 574424
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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