Inside 24-hour horror ordeal for Kenyan boys football team in Tanzania

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A group of rich kids playing for a Kenyan football team were held hostage at a hotel in Tanzania after the team’s management failed to clear their bill despite their parents paying expensively for the trip.

The players belonging to Ngong Road based Ligi Ndogo football club had travelled to Tanzania to participate in the Arusha Chipukizi Tournament which took place between December 15-18.

Ligi Ndogo, owned by Chris Amimo is a football team which draws it players from the Ligi Ndogo Academy. Parents pay up to Sh16,000 per month in order for their children to be taught how to play football under the guidance of professional coaches at their Ngong Road grounds.

The academy also organises trips both locally and abroad which are funded by the parents.

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For the ill-fated Tanzanian trip parents were made to pay Sh47,500 for the three day trip across the border which they did on the instructions of club owner Chris Amimo.

According to those aware of the matter which has been brought to the attention of Football Kenya Limited (FKF) and is also being investigated by Kilimani Police Station children playing for the team were subjected to inhumane conditions from the moment they left Nairobi.

“The children set of for the trip which was marred with several incidence including but not limited to delays in departure from Nairobi to Arusha, delays oof over five hours at Namanga border to Arusha, delays in serving of lunch and drinking water to the players while on the pitches etc,” says a letter sent by the children’s parents to FKF.

As if that was not enough torture already the children were held ransom by Panome Hotel in Arusha on December 18 after the team’s management failed to clear their bills.

Some of the frustrated children who had mobile phones called their parents in Nairobi to inform them what was transpiring. However when the concerned parents tried to reach Chris Amimo his phones were switched off leaving the children stranded on their own with their coaches in a foreign country.

It is not clear if the children who were numbering at-least 110 and aged between 7 to 15 were given any food during their eight hour captivity.

The hotel finally released them at 3pm after their bills were cleared allowing them to set off for the two hour journey to the Namanga boarder.

The worst was however yet to come.

They were cleared on the Tanzanian side of the border at about 5pm but once on the other side, the owner of the buses that were carrying them switched the vehicles off remotely saying he had not been paid.

“At the border, the owner of the bus company claimed he was owed over Sh200,000 and switched off the buses remotely,” say the parents.

The stand off lasted for five hours from 5pm to 10pm as the children’s parents tried to reach Kenyan government officials to intervene as Amimo was still unable to be reached.

With the owner of the buses not yielding, the parents had to fund raise Sh130,000 through a Watsapp group in order for the children to be allowed to continue with their journey to Nairobi.

Finally at about 10:30 pm and after being held ransom for a continuous 16 hours without food, the children were allowed to go home.

The situation had gotten so bad at this point that the Interior Ministry sent a police vehicle to guard the buses for the whole 150 kilometre trip from Namanga to Nairobi.

“The children finally arrived in Nairobi at 0130hrs Tuesday 20th December 2022, almost 24 hours after the checked out of their hotel in Arusha,” say the parents.

“The children were subjected to the hot sun, cold at night, hunger and thirst. One of the children was unwell and could not receive medical attention in due time,” say the parents.

This is not the first time that Ligi Ndogo Football Club has had trips bungled and put children at risk.

He also left children stranded in the past England, Spain, Denmark etc, where he also went underground after taking money from parents and leaving children stranded in foreign countries.

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