• The program was formed in 1997, and the first students in the pilot stage were Bonaventure Maruti and Paul Oyuga — Oyugi
• Indeed, from their backgrounds, most of these Kenyan youth would never have afforded college fees abroad.
Immigration might never be the same again. Even to the land of the free and home of the brave. But what will never be forgotten is what one Kenyan did to take his compatriots to the United States of America.
Coach Bob Oyugi is the brains behind tens of Kenyan sportsmen with academic acumen moving to the USA to study on sports sponsorships.
“I was inspired to form Edu-Sports Academy due to the rising demands of our local sportsmen and women. The talents represent our clubs and national teams but end up as beggars after their careers are over. My second reason was that the country has been losing students/athletes who drop out of school mostly in Form 2 and 3 to various reasons,” says Oyugi.
“The program was formed in 1997, and the first students in the pilot stage were Bonaventure Maruti and Paul Oyuga. Maruti was a high school student at Upper Hill High School while Oyuga was from Aquinas High School."
"They both joined the University of Mobile, Alabama State for their Undergraduate studies and later on proceeded to the University of Connecticut, Connecticut State. They were followed by Vincent Kwarula, Erick ‘Kantona’ Ochieng, Allan Odhiambo, David Kenga, Lucy Nganga (volleyballer) as well as cross country student runners and basketballers.”
Indeed, from their backgrounds, most of these Kenyan youth would never have afforded college fees abroad.
And Oyugi, even amidst the global pandemic not witnessed before by many, remains optimistic that things will resume in due course in large part to the characters that have benefited.
“The program has grown and continues to grow due to good performances and high discipline from Kenyan students. Some have completed their degrees and are back in the country, while others are getting opportunities in different countries like the United Kingdom, Sweden and Norway. Others have secured careers in areas of medicine, engineering and teaching professors,” observed Oyugi.
“Our Academy is still on, with good and disciplined students. We believe education is the key, especially when playing career is over or when career-threatening injuries strike. Nobody will ever take your education away from you!”
Oyugi, one of the pioneer youth football coaches in Kenya, insisted that the country cannot develop without quality education.
“The only exit route to developed societies is education. The future of the world will be dominated by globalisation and only those with relevant skills will thrive. In Kenya, we live in knowledgeable societies and therefore, education has become a commodity on the market and customers only seek it from the best shops. For that matter, they only go to the shops that produce quality, durable products,” he said.
“The world is bleeding today because of a shortage of leaders. Leadership is a skill that can be harnessed from an early age. Students/athletes can be trained to become effective leaders by giving them responsibilities after graduation. Through football, we contribute to this by nurturing students’ hidden talents, recommend them to international learning institutions that enable them to socialise, build their confidence and self-esteem, besides the diversity and promotion of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual alertness,” concluded Oyugi.
For the sake of underprivileged sportsmen, it is hoped that the world will revert back to the global village it has become when the coronavirus pandemic has been conquered, as it surely will.