Constable Mang’eni turns green the dusty Matete grounds, left bare for 30 years
Published on: May 27, 2020 12:08 (EAT)
Godfrey Ashiali Budding footballers in Malava, Kakamega County have every reason to smile and enjoy horning their talents again thanks to the efforts of Moses Mang’eni, a Police constable attached to Matete Police Station. You see, policemen are known for their zeal in combating crime, but the 35-year-old constable is giving a whole new meaning of service to mwananchi. Aware of the biting need of a standard playing ground where upcoming footballers can nurture their talent, Mang’eni took it upon himself to refurbish Matete playing ground, a popular yet dry, dusty and hilly ground where budding footballers usually practice. A husband and father of four, Mang’eni own Friends FC from Navakholo as well as sponsoring Matete United and Kivaywa FC in Malava, showcasing his innate love for the game. But with the ground in deplorable condition, risk of picking career threatening injuries was very high, thanks to the ruggedness of the terrain so he decided to do something – rally few youth to plant grass, have it leveled, to give it a totally new shape and look – using jembes, and machetes. This ground has been in such poor state, lying in utter neglect for three decades, but with the campaign led by the Police constable, it’s set to get a whole new look. With no grass at all and having ant hills everywhere a ball, say, could roll even for 5 seconds. But in that sorry state, the ground has been home to everything, literally. If not football, it’s volleyball and netball players training at the venue. The ground has also come in handy for area choir members as well as county askaris who conduct pre-holiday practices on it. “I have used my own salary in making sure I pay youths who bought my idea in turning around the look of the ground by flattening the ant hills, filling the pot holes and slashing,” he told Citizen Digital in a virtual interview from his Malava base. “We also had to remove the ugly grass and replace them with a better breed. There is also one of my friends who usually hold his tournament in this ground and he has donated barbed wire which I’ve used to fence the ground,” the soft spoken officer added, reinforcing his desire to uplift the facility. The officer also managed to convince Butali Sugar Company to give him top dressing to aid in the quick growth of the grass. Aware that such an effort would attract the eye of many a politician for publicity purposes, Mang’eni is taking no prisoners. He unequivocally says he won’t let such a thing happen. “No political attachment is my mantra. If there is any politician who is interested then unless he channels his contribution through an institutional office,” he clarified. Mang’eni is an alumnus of Father Kemba Sisokhe Secondary in Navakholo. He later on transferred to Kakamega Township High while in form three in 2006 where he completed his O level education before being recruited to the police service. Perhaps it is here, at the Catholic school, where acts of benevolence were instilled in him, that he’s giving back to the society, his paltry salary notwithstanding. His first posting came in 2009 to Isiolo before being transferred to Wajir in 2011 and later to Nairobi before landing at Matete station. Mang’eni is a die-hard fan of Arsenal FC and Harambee Stars and he says that his talent nurturing call is inborn and won’t stop anytime soon. Ashiali is a sports anchor and reporter attached to Mulembe FM. He’s also the RMS Sports Coordinator, Western region.