August 5th was a memorable day. AcaKoro FC, a club that has since won the hearts of many Green Sports fans, were crowned champions of both the U15 and U18 men’s age groups at Gold Cup 2017.
Being their first time winning a Green Sports tournament, AcaKoro drew attention from players and fans alike. Their pure talent and determination were a joy to behold, a true testament to competition and the love of the beautiful game.
It was thus only fitting that, soon after the tournament ended, Green Sports interviewed AcaKoro Head Coach Mohammed. A humble and heartfelt man, Coach Mohammed was the brain behind the teams’ dominance at Gold Cup 2017.
Here is how the interview went:
GS: Green Sports
CM: Coach Mohammed
GS: So, who are AcaKoro? What does your name mean and how were you formed?
CM: The name AcaKoro stands for Academy of Korogocho, and was formed by Austrians in 2013. The club trains 5 times week and the kids, come from very humble backgrounds.
(For those who may not know, Korogocho is also one of the largest slum areas of Nairobi.)
GS: How did you find out about the Gold Cup and Green Sports?
CM: One of our coaches got information from Facebook. We have played in two tournaments now with Green Sports, one in April and this latest one in August. Last time, all our teams were eliminated in the semi-finals.
GS: Being the winners, what do you believe made your team stronger than all the other teams on the day?
CM: The way we played! That was the difference. Our team is very disciplined because they stay together and play together. This is why we were so organized. Also, these kids have come from the slum areas of Nairobi… when they hear that there is money to be won, they play with added determination to win.
GS: What was the hardest challenge you had to overcome during the tournament?
The goal posts in our group matches were very small. It proved difficult to score. Thankfully in the elimination rounds, we got bigger goal posts and the pitch was also very nice. Other than that, we didn’t have many challenges.
GS: Favorite memory of that tournament?
CM: The feeling of winning the tournament was special. The kids were so happy. Many of them have never had that feeling of winning before.
GS: What will you do with the 100,000 KES in prize money that you won for being the champions of the U15 & U18 categories?
CM: The day after the tournament, we had already agreed to give the prize money to all the players’ parents. This way they can buy food for their homes, and other things they may need. We made sure we split up the winnings fairly to each player.
GS: Who would you say was your best player at the tournament?
CM: In AcaKoro, you cannot pick the best player. They are all good. Even if you try, you will see that there is no best player you can choose.
GS: What is your vision for the team in the next few years?
CM: Firstly we want to get all of our players to complete their secondary education. Then after that, we will try our best to find trials for them with the local teams. It is important we find new opportunities for them to play, we can’t just have them play so well and then leave them. The plan is to give them more opportunities.
Thankfully for Coach Mohammed, many of Acakoro’s players were selected by the Gold Cup scouting team and will be invited for trials at the end of the month. From there we offer a platform for AcaKoro’s talent to be recognized once again.
Until then, Green Sports confesses its pride in AcaKoro and congratulates them on winning the U15 and U18 Gold Cup 2017. May they continue to grant the youth of Kenya more opportunities through the beautiful game.