Admiral (Mandera) lost to Al- Ansar (Wajir) 5-4 in post-match penalties on Saturday, November 23, 2019, during the semi-finals of the North-Eastern region. Following the loss the Coach – Ali Mohammed Hassan was in attendance for the final on Sunday morning at Garissa Teachers Training College Grounds (TCC) in Garissa.
Berlin FC (Garissa) beat Al Ansar 2 – 0 to clinch a spot in the National Finals which will take place in June 2020 at Bomu Stadium, Mombasa.
This is what Coach Ali alias Sir Dam had to say.
What’s the feeling in the camp after losing in the semi-finals on penalties 5-4 to Al Ansar (Wajir)? Why are you here watching the finals today (The finals of the North-Eastern region took place on Sunday, 24th November 2019)?
The players were very demoralized when we left the match on Saturday evening after the loss. However, we are all encouraging each other to stay motivated in order to go further next season. I am back here to observe how the teams in the finals are playing as it is always an opportunity to learn as it’s my first time in the semi-final stage.
What’s the biggest take-away and what are you telling the players?
I have learned from this defeat as it is not my first defeat in the Chapa Dimba na Safaricom tournament. In the first season, I also lost in the preliminary stage while I was coaching Admiral. In the second season, I also lost in the preliminary stage. This being the third season we have progressed the furthest hence it is motivating to them to keep playing.
Do you think Chapa Dimba na Safaricom is having any impact on the people of North Eastern?
I am thankful to Chapa Dimba na Safaricom for exposing the untapped talent in North Eastern players. The talent was unknown before but now the opportunities being presented as well the chance to travel to Spain for a 10-day training camp is added motivation to them. It’s up to each individual to prove themselves.
How have the mentorship sessions impacted the players?
Alongside the mentorship we have received, I also have sessions with my players every Tuesday. On this day, we don’t participate in any football drills but we have sessions where I talk to them about life. For the students I feel don’t possess football skills, I expose them to other opportunities – driving, business among others.
Have you always being a football coach?
Yes, I am an alumni of Admiral and football is my passion. Admiral was not participating in any competitions before I became their coach. I have been their coach for 3 years now. I also run a small business and with some of the income I make, I buy the players football uniforms, T-shirts and balls to motivate them to keep playing.
What do you want the people of North Eastern to remember about football in general and life?
I want to tell the people of North Eastern especially the parents of the children that football is life.
It is the biggest sport in the world and if students are coached and their talent is exposed they can make a living from it when they become professional players.
For my players, I make a point to speak to the players’ parents to let them know which opportunities await them if they participate and play well.