Kisumu — Kisumu town was almost brought to a standstill on Saturday after Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) Founder and CEO Kennedy Odede arrived for the organisation’s football for peace tournament in the lakeside region.

Odede, who landed in Kisumu and later escorted by boda boda riders to Moi Stadium where inaugural SHOFCO Football for Peace tournament was staged, is in Nyanza region for a series of games and meetings with Shofco Urban Network (SUN) representatives.

“We chose Nyanza region for this inaugural SHOFCO football peace tournament because this region is highly volatile during election season. We are engaging the youth to maintain peace during this election campaign season and become more useful in decision making as Kenyans elect their leaders,” Odede said.

Odede stated that for a long time politicians have used young people to further their campaign agenda, only to dump them after they are elected.

“We do not want our youth to be just mere spectators and being misused during campaigns. Our youth are not the leaders of tomorrow as they are being told. I encourage them to take centre stage in the leadership of the country both as voters and offering themselves for election for leadership positions,” Odede said after a football tournament between Manyatta and Nyalenda youth in Kisumu.

Nyalenda beat Manyatta to win a prize money of Ksh70, 000 and a trophy. Manyatta walked home with Ksh50, 000 and a trophy as well.

Odede, who is in Nyanza region for five days, has organized other matches in Sega and Rarieda, Siaya County.

Sega youth played their final match on Sunday while those from Rarieda are set to face off on Wednesday as Odede winds up his lakeside region tour.

“We come from different tribes and clans and we may differ politically, but that should not be a recipe for war. We need to live together peacefully with or without elections,” he urged Nyanza residents.

Apart from presiding over football games, Odede addressed SUN representatives from Rabuor and Bondo (Monday) and Alego-Usonga and Rarieda (Tuesday).

Odede said the peace tournaments will be held annually and next one will happen before the August 8, 2022 general elections.

Apart from using the tournaments to preach peace, Odede is scouting for talents in football after running a successful Shofco FC in Kibera. Shofco FC play for Football Kenya Federation Nairobi West Division Two.