Brian Wesaala: Championing African Football’s Future

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In the fervor of football fandom, a Kenyan content creator made a daring bet, pledging to devour a kilogram of chili peppers if Chelsea triumphed over Manchester United. This spirited display of passion for the sport piqued my interest, but it wasn’t until I crossed paths with Brian Wesaala that I truly grasped the depth of dedication some young individuals harbor for sports.

Brian, the CEO of the Football Foundation for Africa (FFA), is on a mission to cultivate a sustainable framework for African football. Hailing from Nairobi, Kenya, Brian’s journey into the world of football began at the tender age of 13 when he traversed kilometers to play with peers in Madaraka estate. His relentless pursuit of the game, amidst the allure of video games and bikes in a new neighborhood underscored his unwavering commitment. However, his early passion for football was not readily recognized by his parents, who saw only a child covered in dirt, oblivious to household chores. Beyond football, Brian’s interests are as diverse as his ambitions for Africa. Drawing inspiration from figures like Wangari Maathai, he delves into self-development and advocates for pan-African empowerment. 

But why recount Brian’s story? In conversations with Annita Mwaniki, the SU alumni manager, the oversight of sports enthusiasts’ narratives became apparent. Brian, with his vision for African sports, embodies this overlooked demographic. His goal with FFA is to address the foundational shortcomings plaguing African football by advocating for robust grassroots support to nurture future talent. Reflecting on his journey, Brian reminisces about his days at Strathmore University, where his passion for football flourished alongside academic pursuits. The inception of FFA stemmed from his realization of the dearth of African representation in the global sports arena. Even during his stint in Geneva, Brian’s heart remained tethered to football, prompting him to pursue avenues to contribute to its development.

Tragically, the passing of a close friend and fellow football enthusiast, Alan Onyango, served as a catalyst for Brian’s intensified commitment to FFA’s mission. His return to Kenya in 2019 marked a pivotal moment in his endeavor to revolutionize African sports. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Brian’s resilience shone through, as FFA adapted through online platforms, facilitating discussions on African football business.

Looking ahead, Brian envisions a reimagined sports complex at SU, fostering camaraderie among students, alumni, and visitors. FFA, now poised for its next phase of growth, seeks to fortify internal structures and forge strategic partnerships to propel African football forward. Brian’s advice to aspiring athletes echoes his own journey—embrace ambition, patience, and take ownership of your growth.

In recognition of his unwavering dedication to African sports development, Brian emerges as a prime candidate for the SU Alumni Service to Society Award in Sports. His tireless efforts exemplify the transformative power of passion and perseverance in shaping the future of African football.

Article witten by Racheal Wanjohi. Alumni Relations Office

 

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