By Hillary Mukasa
The long-serving teacher was posted at Wabera Primary School in Isiolo in 1989. He was a footballer and played for Utawala (Administration Police) of Isiolo in the Provincial league. He also doubled up as the youth coach and took the schools to the District level in football.
In 1991 he was promoted to the Headteacher of Wabera Primary. In 1995 Naftali the Deputy Headteacher who possessed an unmatched passion for football was promoted to the Headteacher of Olidonyiro Primary School where he stayed for 11 years. He introduced football in the school despite having a different opinion from the sponsor of the school.
The sponsor preferred athletics stating that it was more lucrative than football. Naftali however convinced the sponsor to embrace the beautiful game of football. His influence led to the formation of three other teams in the Oldonyiro location namely Zangu Fc, Oldonyiro FC, and Kipsing FC.
In 2005 he went back to Isiolo township as the Headteacher of St Kizito Primary School. Here there were the real football talents and he interacted with players such as Jabir, Nuno, and Ibrahim “Sugar” Hussein amongst others. He led them to the National Championship for primary schools. They conquered teams in the Eastern province easily. In 2007 Naftali was elected as the District Chairman for Primary School Sports. From 2011 to 2016 he was elected as the Chairman of the Kenya Primary Schools Sports Association Eastern region. In his education journey, the football ambassador of Isiolo studied Primary Teacher Education in 1989.
He also pursued a Bachelor of Education at Kenyatta University in 2009 and a Master’s degree in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology. He also studied for a Diploma in Educational Management at the Kenya Institute of Education Management.
While at St Kizito Primary Naftali interacted with prominent players in Isiolo such as Masoud Juma and Abdi Malik whereby he mentored them in terms of discipline and what was required for a player. Naftali also coached the most experienced coach in Isiolo Martin Mutembei. In 2017 he was transferred to Akili Primary School and retired on 30th June 2020.
Currently, Naftali Macharia is a match commissioner in the National Super League. After retirement, the former class 2 referee is still interacting with the local teams and advises the football federation in Isiolo too.