Barry Silah @obel_barry
East Africa is set to see a revolution in how sports talent management is done with the entry of South Africa-based World Wide Scholarships (WWS) next week.
The organisation that was formed in 2002 in the USA has been active in South Africa from where the founder and chief executive Zimbabwean Munya Maraire is based.
The organisation targets young talent between 13 and 21 years mostly engaged in football, basketball, athletics and rugby and their scouts seek the best opportunities abroad for in colleges through scholarships.
The organisation headquartered in Sandton, Johannesburg, is also big on areas of art and academics to help mould an all-round athlete.
Maraire whose professional background is business logistics has stated that their aim is to empower talent through scholarships.
“We are a global organisation empowering youth through our initiatives and opportunities.
Kenya, for example, has proven its dominance in long distance running which is a good thing.
There is already a transfer of skills across but all we need is one kid to come out and shine.
In East Africa, we are in collaboration with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and are the only recognised recruiting and scouting agency especially for sports like basketball and rugby.
We want to see youngsters from a young age showcasing their talent in a structured manner,” said the former 400m athlete who is an alumnus of Penn State University next to Philadelphia City.
Their new base in Kenya that will officially be launched on Friday, January 22, is keen especially to work with American basketball and Major League Soccer clubs due to their interest in raw young talent.
“There are big prospects here especially in football and rugby in which case they can transition to American footballers.
We are in collaboration with AC Milan and when we get the right fit of players then the selected ones get an opportunity to go and try out with the AC Milan Youth team to assess their ability,” he said.
He added: “There is so much talent over here and for the few days I have witnessed quite a bit of the same especially with the Maasai who are naturally tall and love to dance which is part of physical development.
It is just a matter of sharpening and exposing such to the world. What most of us as Africans have failed to do is creating structures and investing enough on the talent we have over here.
It is a challenge to corporates to do more so that we do not see wasted talent.”
WWS is planning an academy set-up and thereby looking for credible associates in this important venture.
“We are in collaboration with AC Milan youth scouting network through Lombardia Uno Group,” stated Maraire who revealed that his company has enough access to funds to inspire the dream.
He added: “We want to see how we can partner with schools, clubs or federations at least on different stages.
We also are keen to have training programmes for scouts and coaches so that they know how to identify and mould young talent.”