All Stars bag top spot in 2016 Astroturf Challenge


Diana Gems in action during the AstroTurf Challenge. PHOTO/Courtesy
Diana Gems in action during the AstroTurf Challenge. PHOTO/Courtesy

All Stars FC from Mombasa thwarted closest rivals and defending champions Bayern Never Losen 3-2 in the Under 23 Category to claim top spot in the fourth edition of the just concluded 2016 Astroturf Challenge.

The finals kicked off in high tempo with Bayern maintaining an early lead, but a hat trick by Wyclife Munene from All Stars dropped Bayern to Second position.

In the girls’ finals, Under 23 Minions beat GEMS Cambridge 2-1 in a fiery penalty shootout. Freere Town from Mombasa and Y Zone from Kisumu were ousted in the semi-finals.

The winning teams received Ksh200,000, shared among them, and the best 11 players from the under 15 and under 18 categories will be recruited into the Green Sports Academy on full scholarship courtesy of gaming platform mCHEZA.

Speaking on the victory, All Stars team captain Swaleh Balala noted they were happy to carry on the winning streak to represent Mombasa in the finals in Nairobi.

“We are happy with the team’s victory today, and the event was well coordinated. Time was of essence every step of the way and being a fast paced tournament, we maximized on each player’s strengths to emerge tops. We will use our prize to invest in the team’s training to make us more competitive even at national level,” said Swaleh.

The tournament which began on March 26th in Kisumu, followed by Mombasa on April 2nd and 3rd saw the two cities front four teams each.

Nairobi fronted 150 of the 2017 teams that took part.

The players not only have a chance to represent their region in the national tournament, but a slot in The Academy will increase their exposure to join national club teams.

The Under 23 qualifiers will be taken through extensive technical training and conditioning ahead of the Gothia World Youth Cup slated for 18th to 23rd July in Sweden.

While congratulating the winners, Green Sports Africa Co-founder and tournament organizer George Ouma expressed excitement over the turnout of the tournament and encouraged more regional teams to bring out their best foot forward. He added that the final 11 players will be announced later.

“We are happy at the success of the Astroturf Challenge, and we are now collating the results based on the points and contributions of each player in order to select the final 11.

The players we are looking for will represent Kenya in the Gothia Cup; we shall take them through extensive training and coaching to match world class play,” Ouma added.

Astroturf is a competitive 5 aside football game played on artificial grass. Matches played on the grounds are shorter and fast- paced. The teams compete in under 15s, Under 18s and under 23s categories.

Green Sports has partnered with mCHEZA to expand to various regions across the country. The partnership is part of the company’s social pillars of nurturing talent.

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