Barcelona FC are the inaugural Kenya Premier League Inmates Champions.
They 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.
There was more reason to smile for the inmates as football wear, including stockings were presented to the three best teams; courtesy of SportPesa, 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 after finishing top of scoring charts with 14 goals.
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 2018 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 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 sports officer, thanked KPL and Zeb Strong Foundation for their support in organizing the IPL.
“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 and therefore, the relationship between them has improved,” Baraza said.
Oguda congratulated the league winners, hailing the quality of their play and that of their opponents of the day, Dragon FC, and highlighting 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,” Oguda said.
“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.”
“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,” Oguda added.