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  • Posted by: Lloyd Gitonga

Securex Agencies (K) LTD partnered with the Kenya Kabaddi Association to host the Securex Kabaddi Tournament at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, this past weekend. The tournament attracted teams from across the country, with four teams from Kisumu, Murang’a, Nairobi and Thika playing for the chance to become the Securex Kabaddi Tournament Champions! The first-round draw pitted Team Thika (Red) against Team Kisumu (Orange) while Team Nairobi (White) took on Team Murang’a (Green), with the winners slotted to compete in the Final. Team Kisumu captain Odhiambo Zuma and Kenya Kabaddi team captain Amos Kagiri were imperious in the first round as they beat Team Thika 61-56, and Team Murang’a would also prove too much for Team Nairobi to handle, overcoming the city-dwellers 60-51 to advance.

Team Nairobi took on Team Thika in the 3rd-Place playoff, a match which featured two of the country’s three professional Pro-Kabaddi League players in Simon Kibura and David Chirisya. It was however diminutive Nairobi captain Isaac Njoroge who would put in a fine raiding display as Team Nairobi clinched 3rd place, seeing off Team Thika 63-53. The final was dominated from start to finish by Team Murang’a, who rolled over Team Kisumu 72-34 with a masterful display from Felix Odhiambo to win the Securex Kabaddi Tournament! Peter Kibe (Team Kisumu) and Isaac Njoroge (Team Nairobi) were the tournament’s Best Raiders while Suleiman Odhiambo emerged with honours as the Best Defender.

Laventer Oguta, President of the Kenya Kabaddi Association, was elated with the quality of Kabaddi that was on display during the tournament, adding that the presence of the international stars, Simon, Felix and David was a timely boost to the local players’ confidence.

“We were very grateful that David, Felix and Simon could join us yesterday. They are the Kenyan ambassadors for Kabaddi in India and are doing very well there. It also gave the local players morale to play with or against such top talent; and to even tackle them during the games. It just goes to show you how far the sport has come in terms of quality when our professional players were given a run for their money during yesterday’s matches,” she said.

“Some fringe players performed very well over the course of the tournament, and we will using this tournament and others as a yardstick to select the best 20, a number which will then be trimmed to 14 players who we will go with to the World Championships. Many expect us to finish in the medal places this year, putting us at par with the world’s best like India, Iran and Pakistan.”

The Indian Pro-Kabaddi League is on a break until June 6th, and Laventer is hoping to benefit from the three players’ presence in the country to grow the sport’s popularity.

“We are hoping to leverage on the three professional players presence to grow the popularity of the sport in Kenya. Felix for instance will soon be travelling to his home county, Homa Bay, to train young children in secondary schools so that they can take the game up early.”

The Securex Kabaddi Tournament was a great spectacle to watch; but in truth the impact of the tournament went far beyond the confines of the mat on which they played. The tournament was the affirmation of a dream, the manifestation of a vision that the fore-bearers of the game had four years ago. It was about taking one step closer to stardom, one step towards global recognition as an international Kabaddi powerhouse for these players.

“People also need to understand that there is a future in Kabaddi. The finest Kenyan talent in the game today are players whom we discovered and nurtured; and their talent took over from there. Simon for instance was a local businessman, Felix was a dancer and David was a security guard when we recruited them into Kabaddi. After teaching him the basics, Simon would watch Kabaddi tutorials on YouTube to help him practise and perfect his talent. He then went to join the Puneri Paltans in the Pro-Kabaddi league and had a very impressive 45% raid success rate in his first season. He paved the way for Felix and David, and for many more.”

We were happy to sponsor the Securex Kabaddi Tournament; and to help more young Kenyans in their quest to follow in the steps of Simon, Felix and David. Congratulations to all the teams once again!

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