Southampton tapping into Kenyan talent


The participating players have largely been drawn from the national U-17 team which took part in the African Youth Championship qualifiers last year.

Southampton development coach Danny Maye is hoping that the project will pay dividends both for Kenyan football and for his club.

"We are very pleased to be here in Kenya for this project and my objective with the team is to help Kenya and the federation to develop these young players and coaches especially to achieve the dream for qualification to the 2022 World Cup," Maye told Capital Sport.

"There is always talent around and it is our duty to develop this potential. I would be proud as a coach one day seeing one of these players turning their dreams into reality and playing for the Southampton FC first team," he added.

Theo Walcott, Gareth Bale, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, Luke Shaw and Callum Chambers are just some of the players that have risen through the Saints' development ranks over the last decade.

And it was at the south coast club where Kenya international midfielder Victor Wanyama first made his mark in the Premier League before moving on to Tottenham Hotspur.

"Victor was a fantastic servant of the club. We really developed and pushed him when he was with us; we enjoyed having him at the club," Maye said.

The Saints development coaches - including Daniel Wright (youth development phase coach), Simon James Locke (academy goalkeeping coach), Matthew Depledge (strength and conditioning coach), Kerry O'Hara (physio) and Andrew Martino (global football development manager), will work with a group of around 30 youngsters, while a FKF development coaching team led by technical director Andres Spier will also take part in the programme.

"It has a huge importance; it is about developing the football and it is beneficial to coaches and players," said Spier.

"We have to improve our knowledge so it's a good opportunity to have Southampton here because they are one of the best producers of football talent in England."