• Football was Macharia’s portion and earned him student scholarships to St.Valentines Secondary School in Machakos County and later Githumu High school in Murang’a.
• “My opponents have been in football management for donkey years and the football people in Nairobi have not felt their impact and rightly want a new hand at the tiller,” alleges Macharia.
The call for change in the management of Kenyan football has been consistent from stakeholders across the country regardless of which regime is in office over the last twenty years.
While positive strides have been made in recent years, the clamour for Kenyan football to take a new direction remains ever present.
That desire for a clean break with the past could not have been more clear than the results in the Football Kenya Federation Nairobi East branch where all but one of the incumbent office holders survived the polling day massacre.
Now with the national polls set for Saturday Nairobi National Executive Committee member candidate Isaac Macharia is optimistic that his past track record as a player and financier of clubs will help him sail through in a battle against long-serving football administrators Tom Alila and Michael Ouma.
“My opponents have been in football management for donkey years and the football people in Nairobi have not felt their impact and rightly want a new hand at the tiller,” alleges Macharia.
“I know they are using football to further their political ambitions and have nothing to lose. On the contrary, I have played football, I support clubs (Kangemi United and Soccer Sisters) and so I will be continuing with a responsibility that I have held for long, only this time on an official capacity,” the 49 year old security expert and founder of Be Assured of Best Services (BABS) security firm, remarks.
Macharia, who was born in Kawangware in 1971 has been a football man all his life. While still a pupil at Riruta HGM Primary School, he was selected to represent Nairobi in the national ball games in Nyanza in 1985.
When Kakamega United was formed in 1986 by veteran sports writer John Ashihundu, the former goalkeeper was among the pioneer members alongside former internationals Vincent Kwarula, Edward Karanja, Michael Esakwa, Wycliffe Jumba among others.
The club later gave rise to Dagoretti Green Santos which was to later bring through one Dennis Oliech.
Football was Macharia’s portion and earned him student scholarships to St.Valentines Secondary School in Machakos County and later Githumu High school in Murang’a.
“Githumu was a football powerhouse back then. When I joined, Sammy Omollo (Posta Rangers coach) and former goalkeeper Charles ‘Korea’ Omondi were the senior members of the team. We went to the national games in 1991 where some of our star players included Gilbert Iliali and Mike Muriuki (once chairman of Thika United). My love for the game never waned even when we relocated from Kawangware to Githurai Estate,” states Macharia.
When they moved to Githurai, Macharia’s passion for the game never let up. He helped found the Mathare Youth Sports Association Githurai Kimbo League in 1998 that nurtured many talents like current Mathare United CEO Jecton Obure, experienced shotstopper David Okello, Isaac ‘Otos’ Otieno among many other talents.
“This was the start of my responsibility as a football manager. I also continued playing and was then at Green Berets (formerly
Ruiru Prisons). While there, I was offered a job as a Prison warder but I declined as I saw my career taking a different path,” Macharia recalls.
With constant trips to his ancestral home of Muranga, Macharia played in several upcountry tournaments like the JJ Kamotho Cup which was sponsored by the late former Minister and Member of Parliament Joseph Kamotho. Once again, his organisational skills came in handy as he started Mathioya United.
In 2004, he was elected as an Ex Officio member of the Aberdares branch in the defunct Kenya Football Federation. Among his responsibilities were the management of the Central Zone League. He would later help start Murang’a United which transformed to Muranga Seal, currently playing in the National Super League.
Having worked with BM Security, starting off as a clerk and rising to the level of Senior Operations Officer, the staunch Catholic founded BABS Security in 2004 and started fully financing Murang’a United .
“I used to get coaches from MYSA like Joseph Jagero and Ernest Mavunga because of their technical nuance and they helped many young aspiring coaches,” he says.
His company became the sole sponsor of Kangemi United and Soccer Sisters, which are currently playing in Division One having also featured in the Women’s Premier League.
With first-hand experience of the travails of footballers, Macharia has gone all in for the NEC member slot for Nairobi.
“I want to bring fresh ideas at the national level. Reforms are necessary in the running of football in Nairobi and the country at large. Many have been paying lip-service to the virtues of transparency and accountability but to me, it is a code I have lived by in my investment and working life where trust is of utmost importance,” Macharia says.
The aspirant has set bringing fans back to the stadia as his main agenda when he takes office.
“Through our Mashabiki.com initiative, we hope to bring back spectators to the grounds. We will work hard in developing infrastructures to help clubs engage fans more to support their activities,” he explains.
Development of working youth structures will be another pillar in Macharia’s vision.
“We owe it to the youths who rely on football to make a living. We know in all spheres of life that if Nairobi succeeds, it spills to every part of the country,” he observes.
To this end, Macharia is keen to work with Nairobi Metropolitan Service and the National Department of Public Works to ensure stadium projects at Kangemi, Dandora, Woodley are completed to the required standards.
Another priority for Macharia will be harnessing the development of women football through his experience at Soccer Sisters where their three players; Jane Waceke, Irene Kambua and Esther Miruru were recruited by Ulinzi Starlets.
“We should see more players from the grassroot clubs moving on to bigger clubs in the country and overseas. For us at Soccer Sisters, it was a big achievement to have our players join Ulinzi and it is something we want replicated across Nairobi.” he says.
Macharia is looking to start a sports agency to manage players from both gender, pointing out that football has helped keep many girls in schools to prepare them for life after football and it is something he will seek to continue when he gets into office.
The socio-economic wellbeing of players and coaches is another area of concern that Macharia is determined to address. Reports of former footballer leaving in poverty has riled him so much that he proposes working with government, the national office and clubs to ensure all players have health insurance.
“With their earnings, many can afford to pay for NHIF to cater for any medical emergency for themselves and their families. We also will work with Kenya Football Welfare Association (KEFWA) and relevant bodies to help players form their own salvo to plan their futures.
“It breaks my heart when someone who represented the country cannot afford to pay medical bills or cannot provide for his family yet they used to earn good money while still active in the game,” he says.
Macharia was unequivocal that he would work with whoever takes over the FKF Presidents seat with incumbent Nick Mwendwa defending his position against an onslaught from Lordwick Aduda, Herbert Mwachiro, Dan Mule and Boniface Osano.
“From what I have seen, Nick is a good strategist and had a vision which if he was surrounded by like-minded people, things would have turned out differently. I will work with whoever takes office because I am not seeking the NEC position for self aggrandizement. I am a team player having been a footballer and its a trait I have adopted in my private life,” points out Macharia.
The Kangemi United patron said he is seeking to give back to football at a higher level by taking the driving seat in the agenda of developing the game.
“Change is good. New ideas are key in any organisation. I want to take things a notch higher after serving from behind the scenes,” he says.
Machari touted his clean cut corporate image in his pursuit of brining back more investments to football.
“I am a man of integrity. Many corporates do not trust football officials. But can say without a shadow of doubt that I can comfortably knock on any door to seek for support for football in Nairobi,” he says.
Upon election, Macharia promised to lobby his fellow executive members to insist on having right structures and systems as well as hiring the right calibre of people at the national secretariat to meet the federation’s ambitions.
Marital Status -Married with 3 children
Job - Founder Managing Director BABS Security, Patron Kangemi United and Soccer Sisters
Education - Riruta HGM Primary School, St.Valentines Githumu High School
Professional Qualifications- National Diploma (Kenya Institute of Criminal Justice)
Executive MBA (Mt.Kenya University)
Memberships-Alumni of Strathmore University Business school, Member of
Catholic Men Association (CMA), Alumnus of Man Enough.