Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru has culminated a vibrant two-month football tournament with the announcement of Intercity FC from Tebere Ward as the deserving winner of the Sh1 million Grand Prize Football Tournament.
The intense competition reached its pinnacle at Wang’uru Stadium in Mwea constituency, where Intercity FC secured victory in a nerve-wracking 3-2 penalty shoot-out against Thumaita FC from Kiine ward.
Governor Waiguru, presenting the coveted Sh1 million grand prize to the elated Intercity FC, addressed a gathering of approximately 20,000 enthusiastic spectators.
The match had concluded in a goalless draw, leading to a compelling penalty shootout that kept the audience on the edge of their seats.
Dennis Murimi, the resilient captain of Intercity FC, shared his joy and pride in the hard-fought triumph, stating, "Our relentless dedication and hard work have finally reaped the sweet fruits of success." Thumaita FC secured a commendable second place, accompanied by a handsome second prize of Sh750,000.
In the women's category, Mukou Queens FC from Thiba Ward demonstrated their prowess with a 3-1 victory over Nyangati Ladies FC, clinching the Sh500,000 women's grand prize.
Governor Waiguru expressed her elation at witnessing the display of excellent talent during the tournament, congratulating all 200 participating teams.
The tournament, themed "Nurturing Talent for Livelihood," featured Green Stars from Karumandi ward securing third place with a prize of Sh500,000, and Al Muslim FC from Kariti ward bagging Sh350,000.
Additionally, top-performing teams at the ward level received cash prizes of Sh50,000 for the winner, Sh30,000 for the second, Sh20,000 for the third, and Sh10,000.
Governor Waiguru revealed that the event attracted approximately 5,000 young footballers, emphasizing its success in not only showcasing skills but also creating income-generating opportunities.
The Council of Governors (COG) chair highlighted the tournament's role as a catalyst for economic vibrancy at the grassroots level, with hundreds of spectators and local vendors benefiting from the matches played across all wards.
“The football matches that were played every Sunday simultaneously across the wards also created business opportunities for innovative entrepreneurs who sold foodstuff and other merchandise to thousands of fans who turned up to cheer their teams,” Governor Waiguru stated.
Waiguru underscored the tournament's role in steering young individuals away from the perils of drug abuse.
She emphasized the significant opportunities within football
"In today’s world, football is big business, and there is money in the game. Those who demonstrated football prowess during this tournament have a great chance of becoming professional footballers and climbing up the ladder to international leagues," Waiguru emphasised.
The resounding success of the tournament has prompted Governor Waiguru to declare it an annual event, fostering talent development and community engagement in Kirinyaga County.