St. Mary’s School, Ulinzi Stars make steps towards talent development

Ulinzi Stars CEO Godwin Baraza hands over a ball to St. Mary’s School teacher Wycliffe Orero as the club made a donation of football and rugby balls to the institution on Friday 18th May, 2018

Ulinzi Stars, and one of Kenya’s academic powerhouses St. Mary’s School have taken the first steps towards the generation of a partnership that will see the two institutions make bold moves in talent development and football growth in the country.

With the scope of Kenyan football heading towards the uncharted waters of investment in talent development, Ulinzi has picked St. Mary’s School as a hub through which future football stars will be nurtured.

In keeping with the undertaking by the club to aid talent development as well as spreading the gospel of football, the team, led by club CEO Maj. Godwin Baraza on Friday 18th May made a donation of both football and rugby balls to the school, as a token of appreciation for the close working relations the institutions have enjoyed.

Unearth and nurture

When camping in Nairobi, Ulinzi Stars regularly uses the St. Mary’s School pitch for training and with time, Maj. Baraza assured, top trained coaches will be scouting at the school, seeking to not only unearth the talents there, but also help in nurturing them.

St Mary’s School students and Ulinzi Stars players in a group photo after the presentation of balls

“We are looking at creating partnerships with institutions where we can develop talents as well as seek players to beef up our teams and St. Mary’s School is a key stakeholder as we set up our scouting program.

“Being based in Nakuru, we realized there is a need to get a good training pitch whenever we camp in Nairobi and this school fits the bill. So it is more of a symbiotic relation that in our bid to harness talent, we get to use these great facilities and we will definitely get to see Ulinzi coaches coming to train footballers here.

“Ulinzi has national team players, young players who these lads can relate easily with and they’ll also get that feel of sharing ideas with Kenyan Premier League players and we are looking forward to a really great time together,” Maj. Baraza said.

Interest in football

The teacher in charge of co curricula activities at the school, Mr. Wycliffe Ignatius Orero acknowledged that with Ulinzi setting their training base in the school, there has been a rise in interest in football by the students.

He said the two institutions working together would turn beneficial, in keeping with new curriculum proposals encouraging students to take part in such activities.

A student at St Mary’s gets a feel of the rugby ball after the presentation on Friday 18th May

“Ulinzi coming here has really generated interest in football and you find that whenever they leave class in the evening they want to run to the pitch to watch and borrow a few ideas from the Ulinzi players and God willing, we hope these players form the target group that Ulinzi Stars will harvest from.

“The government today is really pushing for co-curricula activities to go hand in hand with academics and we are also structuring our program towards that and a big percentage of them love soccer and rugby, which is a good sign,” Mr. Orero said.

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