August 15, 2023 – Nairobi, Kenya: The highly anticipated 2023 edition of the annual Ligi East Africa tournament is set to take place on August 17th and 18th at the prestigious Nairobi Polo Club. This year’s event is not just about soccer; it’s about fostering international collaboration in both sports and education. In an unprecedented move, the tournament is teaming up with America’s Woburn Youth Soccer Association (WYSA) to launch the Boots and Books program, a groundbreaking initiative that brings together children from Kenya and the USA to enhance soccer skills and academic prowess.
Professor Paul Kasili, renowned for his role as the Community Development Director of WYSA, will be a guest of honor at the tournament. Prof. Kasili’s visionary leadership will see the initiation of the Boots and Books program, a concept he pioneered within the Woburn Youth Soccer Association. Under this program, children from WYSA donate gently-used books and outgrown soccer boots, which are then distributed to participants of the Ligi Ndogo East Africa tournament. This innovative approach not only encourages young players’ passion for soccer but also facilitates access to educational resources, blending athleticism with learning.
The Nairobi Polo Club will be abuzz with excitement as 219 teams from 10 different countries have confirmed their participation in this two-day football spectacle. The tournament spans various age categories, from Under 7 to Under 19, showcasing emerging talents and promoting youth engagement in the sport.
Kenya, the gracious host of the event, is gearing up to welcome over 1000 young football enthusiasts from Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Chris Amimo, the esteemed tournament director, emphasizes that the introduction of the books and boots program is poised to be a game changer, providing young athletes with motivation, educational resources, and a platform to hone their soccer skills.
Amimo’s unwavering belief in the caliber of the tournament’s participants and its potential to attract budding talents reflects the commitment of Ligi Ndogo to nurturing football potential in Kenya. As he stated, “This is a platform where our young talents have to showcase their talent and for nurturing football potential in Kenya. As Ligi Ndogo we are committed to providing opportunities for players to participate in countrywide tournaments, international cups, and tours, thus opening doors for their football careers. I call on fans to come to cheer up our youngsters.”
The defending champions across the five age sets, including UFA Simba (U7), Black Panthers (U9), Tanzania’s TeletubbiesKids League (U11), Legacy Football Academy (U13), and True Talents (U19), have all confirmed their participation, setting the stage for a thrilling competition.
The Ligi Ndogo East African Cup, a cherished age group football tournament, was established in 2008 by the Ligi Ndogo Soccer Club Fraternity. Every August, the tournament serves as a platform to raise awareness about pertinent issues affecting youth football development within the East African region. Through its annual themes aligned with the concerns of East African youth, the tournament’s impact extends far beyond the field, nurturing holistic growth and international collaboration.