State to launch bottom-up Under-19 football tournament
President William Ruto has announced the launch of a nationwide Bottom-up Under-19 football tournament.
As part of the Kenya Kwanza administration’s Football Vision 2030, Ruto stated during his speech on Jamhuri Day that the Under-19 competition will begin at the ward level in each of the country’s 47 counties.
The Bottom-Up competition is a component of the government’s larger strategy to host the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations alongside other East African nations and qualify the national men’s football team, the Harambee Stars, for the 2030 World Cup.
“As part of this plan, I have accepted to champion a grassroots football development program that will see the national government work with county governments to invest heavily in youth football,” Ruto said.
According to Ruto, plans are well underway to hold a Bottom-up football tournament that will feature under-19 teams from all 47 Counties. To create a team, we will collaborate with the county governors starting at the ward level.
“This is the first step in our Football Vision 2030 where we target to see Harambee Stars play at the 2030 World Cup and Kenya host the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations. Together, let us build Kenyan football Bottom-up, from the grassroots of our villages to the grand stage of the World Cup,” he added.
The last time the Harambee Stars participated in the Africa Cup of Nations was in Cairo, Egypt in 2019; they have never been qualified for the Fifa World Cup.
The proposal to have Kenya host the 2027 Afcon alongside other EAC nations received approval from the Cabinet on Tuesday.