High stakes as eight teams battle to win ksh.1 million grand prize in Governor Waiguru’s football cup.

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru’s Ksh 1 million grand prize football tournament entered the last stage with teams battling for a spot during finals expected to be played at the Wang’uru Stadium on Sunday.

Already eight men and women teams have qualified for the quarter finals following tightly contested county level play-offs staged at the Kerugoya stadium and Kaitheri polytechnic grounds over the weekend.

Quarter finals and semi-finals will be played on Friday and Saturday respectively.

On Sunday, five men and five women teams battled it out in the County Level playoffs. The stakes were high, with only three men’s and three ladies’ teams making the cut to advance to the quarter-finals-.

At Kerugoya stadium on the men’s side, Thumaita FC, Gathigiriri FC, and S Mukuba FC emerged victorious, securing their spots in the quarter-finals. In women’s matches at Kaitheri polytechnic grounds; Wanda Queens FC, Mokou Queens FC and Kiamanyeki Queens FC qualified for the quarter-finals.

The quarter-finals, will be a do-or-die situation for the remaining teams, as only the top four will proceed to the semi-finals. It is here that the contenders will have to prove their mettle to move one step closer to the grand prize of Ksh.1 million, which awaits the ultimate victors in Sunday’s final match.

Thumaita FC of Mukure Ward demonstrated their dominance by overpowering Kiamaina FC of Inoi Ward with a commanding 3-0 victory. S Mukuba FC of Njukiini ward showcased their prowess, whitewashing Ngang’a FC of Wamumu Ward 2-0, while Gathigiriri FC from Gathigiriri ward secured a solid 2-0 win against Mukuba FC.

Thumaita FC Captain Maina Kanyungu said his team is optimistic of winning the tournament.

“We have come far since we started. So many young people do not have work to do but we were lucky to be involved in this tournament. Despite the challenges we faced against Kiamaina FC, we are thrilled to be here on the brink of the finals. We can’t wait to compete for the Ksh.1 million prizes,” Maina said.

Dennis Munene, captain of Kiamaina FC, expressed disappointment following their loss to Thumaita FC. He said the tournament has successfully united young people, steering them away from detrimental influences like drugs.

“We are disappointed not to have won, but we wish our opponents the best. The greatest achievement from this tournament has been the unity among us young people and the avoidance of drugs,” Munene said.

Melody Gatimu, the captain of Mokou Queens FC, was overjoyed following their resounding victory, during which she played a pivotal role by scoring five goals. She emphasized on the significance of women’s inclusion in such tournaments.

“As women, we are very happy to be included in this mega tournament and to get an opportunity to showcase and nurture our talents. This should be the beginning of women’s empowerment in sports and we hope for more football leagues in the future,” she said.

Jackline Kago, the goal scorer for Kiamwathi Starlets FC, said despite her team’s defeat, the girls performed well.

“As a team, we are confident that we showcased our best abilities. While we faced a setback in this match, we eagerly look forward to the quarter-finals to witness who will emerge victorious,” she remarked.

Governor Waiguru said the tournament, under the theme “Nurturing Talent for Livelihood,” will see about 5,000 youth from about 200 football clubs compete from the ward up to the county level.

A total of Ksh. 8 million in cash prizes will be won. Apart from the winning team getting a reward of Ksh.1 million, the second will receive Ksh.750,000. The third will walk home with Ksh.500,000 as the fourth bags Ksh.350,000. The fifth will get Ksh. 200,000 with top teams in ward level also receiving cash rewards.

Waiguru pointed out that the two months tournament is the largest football competition to have ever taken place in the county and is aimed at empowering youths to generate income from their talents.

Apart from the cash rewards, the teams will also receive uniforms, boots and footballs.

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