Two Kenyan football coaches have made it to the final list for an exclusive training program with Arsenal Football Development Coaches in London.
Feisal Abdi Hassan, who coaches Marleen Starlets FC in Nairobi, and Beldine Lilian Achieng Odemba, who coaches Kariobangi Sports in Nairobi, were selected by a panel of judges from Arsenal and its official online money transfer partner, WorldRemit.
Six other finalists, three men, and three women, from Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, and Columbia have also been selected, bringing the total number of coaches eligible for the exclusive training program to eight.
From the eight, two winners, one male and one female, will be chosen by a public vote via the future stars world remit website. Voting is open until midnight on 11th November and anyone can vote on the website.
This year, there were more than 1400 entries from youth coaches for the Future Stars Program, which is close to double the entries in 2018, when the program was launched.
The criteria used to select the eight finalists out of the more than 1400 entries was the commitment of the coach to improving the lives of their community, the impact the coach has had on young people within their community and the strength of the coach’s proposal to pass on their training on their return.
Last year’s Future Stars winner was Hamisi Mohamed from Young Talents Soccer, who flew to London for the exclusive training program after garnering the most votes. This year’s Kenyan finalists have expressed confidence that, once again, their supporters in Kenya and beyond will vote for them.
Kenyan Feisal Abdi Hassan was previously a professional footballer for Lang’ata Gremio FC but currently coaches 12-19-year old girls in Nairobi. He has taught both boys and girls teams and believes that football is a powerful tool to reduce crime among young people and keep them motivated.
Feisal hopes to use the opportunity presented by Future Stars to promote women’s football and encourage his team to continue playing the sport that they love.
Beldine Lillian Achieng Odemba, on the other hand, is a coach for Kariobangi Sharks boys’ teams and the Kariobangi Sports girls’ team. She gets the greatest satisfaction from teaching life skills to young people through football.
Beldine got into coaching through her brothers, who were passionate about the sport, and has taught as both a volunteer and on a professional basis. If she were to win a training session with Arsenal Football Development, Beldine promises to share her experiences with grassroots coaches back home to benefit the local community.
The Head Coach at Arsenal Football Development, Simon McManus said that the club aims to promote diversity in football and positively impact the lives of young people through the sport.
“When developing this year’s Future Stars programme with WorldRemit, it was important for us to highlight the benefits of encouraging more women into the sport, both as players and as coaches. The eight finalists we have chosen all stood out to us due to their passion and commitment to using football to bring young people from all walks of life together,” McManus said.