This is Jasa Starlets (Jamaica Soccer Accademy) under 13 years team, celebrating their win during the Mukuru slums Street Soccer Tournament.
This is an event that has been bringing various children and youths from the vast Mukuru Slum together to showcase their talent on football.
„This is a way to bring the community of young people together and engage them positively as otherwise, one would end up loitering and indulging in negative activities,“says Francis who has organized the tournament. “The aim also is to bring peace within the informal settlement. And through such we get a chance to bring conversations like on Health, and the current Pandemic.”
Francis Gikufu, has grown up himself in the slums of Nairobi and is still living there. He has founded an Organisation, called Mukuru Angaza Academy and takes care on children and adolescents to empower them – with self awareness and self confidence, meaningful ways of living, knowledge on healthy practices and several kind of theatre and sportive games.
How does soccer work in a slum?
For sure: there are some interesting things to know.
The game is unique. The field is quite small, and boarders are the sewer river and the dumping site. And is at the backyard. So instead of normal posts on a normal pitch, they use Car tire. And each team has five players in play, instead of 11.
Despite the pitch being not do good for a game, and players not having standard playing kits, they make use of that which they have. And that doesn’t stop the young people from enjoying that which Bundesliga, English premier league and Kenya Premier league do enjoy. Balls only last a short period due to constantly getting to the sewer river, which though a challenge, still never stops the love of the game…
Just as the name say it, StreetSoccer… and sheep
“It is more of playing in the street, and in the street we have even animals like the sheep at the far end, dogs and pigs too are common here and can pass at any minute, when such happens, the referee will blow the whistle and stop the game till the “Guest” passes,” explains Francis.
Rules are rules… the structured way of such a tournament is important. The young people enjoy a lot. It gives them the feeling of being important and of being able to make a difference.
Winning means a lot – and food for all
There were trophies for the winners boys and girls champions, also medals and then the most important and motivating factor of the tournament…
Can you imagine what it was?
A COOKED Plate of FOOD for the players, spectators and the community located near the ground.
“We continue to reach out to mobilize food, and other kind of support to ensure that the slum community is well during these hard times. The Corona Virus is still affecting more, and getting more closer home. We are hoping that there will be a vaccine soon,”adds Francis.
Thanks for donations
With some employee donations by Boehringer Ingelheim we from the Making More Health Initiative help Francis to provide the youth with food and some balls for similar tournaments. Thanks, colleagues!
In case you want to support, too: https://paypal.me/pools/c/8pKpKiCiP0