Slum Boy With Sights Set On Old Trafford
John Njuguna was named the Man of the Match as Euronuts FC edged out Juja United on post-match penalties in a Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom semifinal match played at the Thika Technical Training Institute on Saturday 3rd March, to confirm a slot in the finals.
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Assistant Technical Director Michael Amenga, who attended the match, was full of praise for the teenager.
“I first saw the boy when he was playing for Passenga High School in the Secondary School Ball Games a few years ago. He caught my eye, but I must admit, he has really improved as a player. He’s got a good first touch and his positional awareness is fantastic,” Amenga said.
Solomon Muoni, the Euronuts FC coach started the team in 2006 and he has seen Njuguna grow. He says the main reason of founding the team was to give slum youth hope.
“We are from Muguga Kiambaa slum in Limuru. Life there is tough and it’s easy for young boys to fall into crime and other vices.”
“I attended a basic coaching course in 2006 and after that formed Euronuts FC. This gave John Njuguna, who was around 6-years-old back then, and his friends a chance to play football,” Muoni reveals
“We train at a small field with limited facilities but despite the challenges, we represented Central Region in the Sakata Ball Na Safaricom National finals in 2011. This was very big for us and it gave hope to the slum youth.”
“Some of the members of the team are now playing in the Kenyan Premier League; Steve Njunge is the first choice goalkeeper at Wazito FC while Fernendez Tera is now at Nzoia Sugar FC.”
Muoni says that despite being just 18, Njunguna’s exploits on the pitch are inspiring youth of Muguga Kiambaa Slum.
“Due to lack of funds, we have never registered in the league. We therefore play in tournaments and it is in one of these tournaments that Njunguna was scouted and offered a full scholarship at Passenga High School,” he says,
“At Passenga, national team selectors scouted him during one of the school games and he was called up to the U17 squad last year. When they faced Cameroon at the Safaricom Stadium in Kasarani last year, almost everyone from the slum was in the stadium to cheer him on. He might be young but he carries the hope of the entire slum,”
“He has been very crucial for us in this year’s Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom Tournament and now that he has cleared High School, our hope is he will play professional football soon. He lost his father two years ago and being the first born, he shoulders the responsibility of ensuring his siblings and mother are okay. We are optimistic that his passion will take him places,” he added.
Njunguna feels indebted to the Muguga Kiambaa community and he hopes he can guide Euronuts to winning the Central Region Chapa Dimba na Safaricom title.
“These people, especially the coach, have sacrificed a lot for the team. I think it’s only fair if I do my best to ensure we win the Sh200,000 and represent Central region in the National finals. We lack very basic things like balls and training kits. This money will help us acquire such things and it will change the fortunes of the team and eventually of individual players,” he says,
“I come from a very humble background but I am blessed with talent. Life hasn’t been easy especially after I lost my father but football gives me hope. My goal is to guide Euronuts to win the title. This will be a dream come true for me and a perfect gift to the community. My favourite football player is Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba and I hope to play for the club in future,” he says.