The 2018-19 Naivasha Maximum Prison Inmates Premier League came to end on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 with Barcelona FC being crowned champions of the competition’s inaugural season.
Barcelona FC won the league unbeaten and were presented with their trophy and medals after their last match of the season, which was an entertaining 3-3 draw with Dragon FC.
Other teams which participated in the competition were Arsenal FC, AS Monaco FC, Atletico Madrid FC, Bayern Munich FC, Celtic FC, Chelsea FC, Everton FC, Juventus FC, Olympic FC, and Real Madrid FC.
The league commenced in September last year and was run by Zeb Strong Foundation in partnership with the Kenyan Premier League. The Inmates Premier League is KPL’s flagship Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project and a similar programme has also been going on at the Kamiti Maximum Prison.
Before the trophy presentation ceremony the delegation from KPL and Zeb Strong Foundation which was led by KPL CEO, Jack Oguda, were welcomed to Naivasha Maximum Prison by the officer-in-charge of the facility Mathew Mutisya.
Mutisya hailed the Inmates Premier League for its positive impact on inmates as it has helped in keeping them more active and occupied.
Speaking later at the trophy presentation ceremony, Senior Sergeant Vitalis Baraza, the correctional facility’s Sports Officer thanked KPL and Zeb Strong Foundation for their support in organizing the Inmates Premier League.
“The Inmates Premier League has blended in well with other correctional programmes that we have at Naivasha Maximum Prison. From our observation, the league has helped in improving discipline among inmates and as such wardens are having an easier time than before to manage them. Therefore, the relationship between them (inmates and wardens) has improved,” Baraza said.
Baraza’s words echo what KPL and Zeb Strong intended to achieve when starting the league in September last year. (see below for brief on the Inmates Football Project)
In his remarks, the KPL CEO congratulated the league winners, hailed the quality of their play, and that of their opponent of the day, Dragon FC and highlighted on areas of the growth that will be focused on next season.
“First I would like to congratulate Barcelona FC for being the inaugural winners of this competition and also, for having achieved the feat unbeaten. Secondly, the quality of play you have exhibited is quite impressive. Considering the surface that you are playing on, it is not easy to move the ball around easily and it was entertaining to watch your creative solutions to that challenge,” the KPL CEO said in his opening remarks.
“Next season we will put in place capacity building activities aimed at improving the skills and knowledge of referees, coaches, and first aiders. This way, we will get more people involved in the sport as it is not everyone who can play,” the KPL CEO added.
There was more reason to smile for the inmates as uniforms (jerseys, shorts, and socks) were presented to the three best teams. The donation of uniforms was courtesy of SportPesa, who are the title sponsors of the Kenyan Premier League.
Despite losing the league title to Barcelona FC, Dragon FC had something to cheer about as one of their players, Alfred Wanyama Babu, claimed the golden boot trophy after finishing top of scoring charts with 14 goals.
ABOUT INMATES PREMIER LEAGUE
Why the Inmates Football Project?
Among the key goals of KPL is to undertake new programmes within and among our clubs for contributing to the community and national development and achieving greater national unity. A number of former Kenyan Premier League players have fallen into crime and ended up in the correctional facilities bringing the name of football and footballers into disrepute. We, therefore, want to give hope to the inmates immediately, during, and after serving their term in the following ways:
- To improve engagement between the inmates and prison officers hence impart positively on their work;
- To engage the inmates and help them avoid the use of drugs and illegal substances in prison institutions;
- To ameliorate the problem of congestion and overcrowding in prisons;
- To have effective rehabilitators among the inmates in place within the prison institutions;
- To improve the prison staff welfare and have entertainment through sports, arts & culture.
- To support ongoing projects within the prison institutions.
Why start the Inmates Premier League?
Most of the prisoners at Kamiti Main Prison and Naivasha Prison are either condemned or serving a sentence of more than 10 years. It is quite hard for a normal human being to serve this kind of sentence without programmes being thrown in. We all know that if one is left alone, he may start looking for other options that are not right at all; Drugs is a perfect example.
Some of the inmates are footballers who were passionate about the game and were looking to build their lives around it but due to many circumstances, they opted to engage themselves in a life of crime that led to their arrest and imprisonment.
Knowing that if their employers (football clubs) had invested well in medical equipment for their injuries, paid them their salaries well and in due time and also engage them off the field of play, they would have been better men in the society.
No one is beyond hope and that’s why the Inmates Premier League (IPL) initiative will achieve the following:
- Keep the inmates engaged and there will be no room for activities that will further destroy their lives.
- Increase their skills as players, match officials, and managers of the beautiful game.
- Bring the transformation of behaviour in all aspects of life.
- Bring a reconciliatory spirit among the inmates, wardens and the society at large.
- Enable inmates to experience what is experienced by other professional footballers in the professionally run league.
- Be a tool to create awareness and offer solutions on various problems faced by the inmates thus leading to the transformation of correctional facilities.
ABOUT KENYAN PREMIER LEAGUE
KPL is an affiliate of Football Kenya Federation (FKF) and is registered as a private company limited by shares and was incorporated on October 31, 2003 under Cap. 486 of the Companies Act of the laws of Kenya. The Kenyan Premier League is the biggest League in Kenya and is owned, managed and run by the 18 participating Premier League Clubs who are the Shareholders with FKF holding one special share of the Company.
The League manages the following events: League (306 matches), KPL Super Cup, KPL Top 8 Knockout Tournament, and KPL U20 Championship.
KPL’s mission is to build professionalism on and off the field in Kenya through its participating clubs, coaches, players and referees and ensure they always act together for the good of our sport, nation and for the development of the area’s youth.
- to raise the professional standards and performance of our clubs, coaches, players and referees;
- to improve the competitiveness and attractiveness of our league for fans, sponsors and media;
- to secure and use sponsorships and other revenue to strengthen the future of our league and our clubs;
- to provide a professional and competitive basis for our clubs and our national teams to represent our country in international competitions;
- to undertake new programmes within and among our clubs for contributing to the community and national development and achieving greater national unity;
- to contribute to the improvement of football in our country and abroad through cooperation with other clubs and associations in and outside Kenya and with CECAFA, CAF and FIFA.
The top decision-making body is the Governing Council which consists of the 18 Club Chairmen and FKF President. The Chairman of the League Champions becomes the Chairman of the Company while the chairmen of the second & third-placed take the positions of 1st Vice Chairman & 2nd Vice Chairman respectively. The Executive Committee which is the implementing body is elected based to ensure a balance between institution-based clubs, community-based clubs, and regions. The secretariat is headed by the Chief Executive officer who is also the secretary of the Governing Council and Executive Committee.
ABOUT ZEB STRONG FOUNDATION
Zeb Montgomery was a gifted athlete and artist who loved to give. Born on January 8, 2001, Zeb began playing soccer at the age of 4. He was also a cross-country runner and won medals for himself and his middle school team. Zeb had a vision of giving away soccer balls, tell his story, and help people but unfortunately passed away on November 10th, 2015 at 2:20 pm at the age of 14 years after battling Acute Myeloid Leukemia for 18 months.
Zeb’s Foundation is a non-profit organization which was created to help carry out the vision Zeb had. Our goal is to continue to telling Zeb’s story, helping people, give away soccer balls, and organize soccer leagues and tournaments in prisons and slum areas. Zeb Foundation is also involved in prison ministry for the last 7 years through its Director Bishop Joseph Kirai (alias Kariz).
ABOUT KENYA PRISONS SERVICE
The Kenya Prisons Service is a Department in the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government. It contributes to public safety and security by ensuring there is safe custody of all persons who are lawfully committed to prison facilities, as well as facilitating the rehabilitation of custodial sentenced offenders for community reintegration. It is a critical component of the Criminal Justice System which has the greatest impact on people’s liberties and freedom, particularly those who are in conflict with the law. The Service became autonomous in 1911 and has since then grown progressively to a Department comprising of 118 institutions of which ninety-four (115) are for adult offenders whilst three (3) are primarily for youthful offenders. The Service is empowered to exercise the mandate by Chapters 90 & 92, (Prisons and Borstal Acts), Laws of Kenya. The current prisoners’ population stands at 54,000 of whom 48% are pre-trial detainees whilst the remaining ones are sentenced, prisoners. The staff establishment stands at approximately 22,000 comprising of uniformed officers and auxiliary staff.