Kenya has the potential to produce world-class football talent, says Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey

England's Arsenal FC star midfielder Aaron Ramsey believes Kenya has the potential to produce world-class football talent.
The midfielder, who is eyeing silverware next season with the Gunners as he aspires to win his first major trophy at the club he joined as a teenager from Cardiff City in the 2007-08 season, said Kenya’s sporting pedigree “is well-documented and should be nurtured to achieve more success”.


The Welsh midfielder was speaking to local journalists after meeting young players from Ligi Ndogo, who had paid him a courtesy call at Hemingways Nairobi in Karen, as he wrapped up his weeklong Safari in the country in the first week of June.
The 22-year-old is the first active Arsenal player to visit Kenya in recent years. He jetted in on May 25 and proceeded to Diani in the coastal city of Mombasa and later to Ol Seki Hemingways, Mara.
   "I have loved my stay here, enjoyed the wildlife at the Mara and the weather in Mombasa with my family. The hospitality has been first class and I am definitely looking forward to coming back some time in the future," said Ramsey.
"I learned two Swahili words, jambo (hallo) and asante (thank you)," he laughed on how much he had mastered the Kenya’s national language.

 
A Ligi Ndogo Under-10 player tries to dribble the ball past Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal. PHOTO: Xinhua

    The player, who began his career at promoted side Cardiff City, said: "This country has produced exemplary international footballers and I have confidence that with initiatives like Ligi Ndogo, more talent is being nurtured for the future."
   However, the player, who made 44 appearances in the campaign, said he would work with his team mates to maintain a consistent run similar to the strong finish to the just-concluded English Premiership.
   Arsenal secured qualification to the UEFA Champions League knock-out stage on the last day during the just-concluded league.
   "We got through and got the fourth place we were after in the end. Hopefully, we can take this form we showed in the last season into next season and get into a good start and pull ourselves in. We need to do that on a more consistent basis and hopefully, we can take it into the beginning of the next season and help ourselves to a good start," he added.
   On Wales team mate and Tottenham Hotspurs rivals winger, Gareth Bale, the Gunner said the future of one of the most coveted players in Europe remains in his hand after he helped his team chase Arsenal all the way for the crucial Champions League berth.
   "He is a good player, who scored many good goals for Tottenham this season and many of his goals have kept us on our toes. He has been unbelievable this season and he deserves the credit he has been having recently."
   Ramsey also admitted it would be odd to play champions Manchester United without their long-serving manager, Sir Alex Ferguson in charge after the Scot retired having clocked 26 years at Old Trafford at the end of the season.
   "He is going to be missed by them and his figure will definitely be missed in the game. Not seeing him in the Manchester United dugout is going to be quite weird because he has been there for many years but he has done more than enough for that club and won many things."
   The Welshman, who joined the Gunners when Portuguese coach, Jose Mourinho, was in charge at London rivals Chelsea, welcomes the impending return of the self-styled 'Special One' to Stamford Bridge.
   "He's a great manager who has won many things. It will be good for the Premiership to have him back, his personality and things like that. It brings a bit more excitement and it can only be a good thing."


Aaron Ramsey with Ligi Ndogo Under-10 players. PHOTO: Xinhua

   On his boss, Arsene Wenger, the longest-serving manager in English football following the exit of Ferguson, Ramsey stressed his confidence that the Frenchman would lead Arsenal to the silverware they crave after going on a trophy-drought of eight seasons.
   "There is no hairdryer with him! He certainly knows how to manage his players, he is very easy to talk to, very approachable. He makes you to be very keen to improve as a player and enjoy at a young age."
   Ramsey netted once, alluding to the famed flaming treatment Ferguson sometimes dished on his players when they under-performed. He returned to continue his summer break on Friday evening after sampling the delights of the East African nation.
The Kenyan boys were elated to have met one of their football inspirations.
 "I am very excited to have met Ramsey, who is one of my favourite players at Arsenal, the team that I support," said Andrew Kalama, one of the Ligi Ndogo players. (Xinhua)

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