Meet Kenya's youngest referee Vincent Omondi
By Paul Ombati:
To identify and nurture talents has been one of the major factors ailing the growth of Kenya's sports industry since many talents have gone unnoticed. Kenyan referees have also never been so much in the limelight except for a few, who have made it to the international stage. Destiny however shapes the future for 16 year old Vincent Omondi from Nzoia Sugar in Bungoma county.
The lad will be completing his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education at Ingotse High School this year. His passion and love for football has seen him get accolades and big appointments, including being the center referee in a number of county tournaments.
Vincent Omondi, famously known as 'Omosh' recalls his dream journey back two years ago;
"It was back in 2017 when I was watching one of the games in a local football tournament, one assistant had not arrived and the center referee (Matthias Onyango) told me to be the linesman. I trusted myself and I officiated that match well, it is from there that I began officiating lots of matches and last year, I was privileged to be the center referee in the ward finals between Nzoia Sportiff FC vs Mbuni FC. I have also got calls to officiate other county tournaments but I will be going back to school."
It has never been an easy journey for Omondi though, as he recalls many setbacks he has faced including his family members; "At first it was very difficult for the rest of my family to imagine that I would become a referee, they resisted but I was consistent until they believed in me and now they always support me."
Credits to his Journey
Omondi doesn't hesitate to appreciate the support he has got from his role model, James Wandera (Kenyan Premier League referee) who has been guiding him all through including giving him referee kits, boots and regular guidance. He also appreciates Nzoia Sportiff trainer Matthias Onyango who gave him the first opportunity to start this journey.
Being close to Nzoia Sugar FC has also helped him get the proper nurturing and he appreciates the efforts of Evans Kadenge and Yappets Mokua; the Team manager and Chairman of Nzoia Sugar respectively. His regards also go to the management, players and fans of Nzoia Sportiff Fc.
Call for Support
Due to complete his secondary school studies this year, Omondi calls for support from well wishers who can help him achieve his dream.
"It is my humble request to anyone out there who is in a position to help me, it is my dream to become a referee and I need boots, uniform and also any school fees support because when i finish form 4, I want to join a refereeing school and learn more about this career"
Omondi's dream is to officiate the 2026 World Cup and 2024 African Cup of Nations.