Stanley Okumbi, the former Harambee Stars coach, has praised the Talanta Hela boys’ and girls’ under-19 teams, stating that they have the potential to elevate Kenyan soccer onto a higher platform if given the opportunity to play together and engage in friendly matches.

Accompanied by the girls’ team under coach Jacline Juma, Okumbi is currently in Spain for the Costa Daurada Cup Tournament. Following a friendly match between the boys’ team and Nastic Academy at the Nastic stadium in Tarragona on Tuesday, Okumbi emphasized the importance of involving players in friendly matches with established soccer teams.

“If we can come together because most of them are not in school, then we will succeed greatly when it comes to soccer development. We need to organize competitive friendly matches and major tournaments every month for two to three weeks of training. But if we leave them after these competitions, then we will not have worked in vain. I have proposed this idea to the relevant people, and I hope they will implement it, and this will help us grow the sport,” said Okumbi, who is also the CEO of Rainbow FC in the National Super League (NSL).

“We have played four matches since arriving in Spain on Sunday, and the boys are working very hard. Many players have not been training because they are in school. I have been trying to encourage them to continue giving their best in playing soccer,” added Okumbi.

“My dream has always been to play in Spain, and I thank God that this dream has now become a reality. The weather here is completely different from home, but we are striving to cope with it. We have gained a lot of knowledge from our coach, who has been guiding us all along. The teams here in Spain play a different style of soccer, but we have shown that we are resilient after playing against them. We will make history through Talanta Hela,” said midfielder Telena Ochieng.

“The journey has been great, and we hope to win the cup and bring it home. We will pass on to others what we have learned while in Spain. The competition here is much tougher compared to how we play at home,” said Valencia Ochieng, a Form Two student at Butere Girls High School in Kakamega County.