Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Celebrating Success

by Jenipher Awuor

Today’s soccer was very different from the one known to each one of us, the traditional soccer played on the pitch with players running after the ball for 90 minutes to get the 3 crucial points awarded for a win. Well today’s soccer treat was a special one of its kind as all of the Uweza Soccer Academy players from the under 8 category to senior category all sat in one of the classrooms at one of the local primary schools in Kibera, Toi Primary. Sitting in the front rows were their parents who all came in large numbers to oversee the achievements realized by their kids.

A section of the parents present
This prizegiving event is held three times a year during the last Saturday of the month when schools are on vacation.  The exercise involves awarding kids in the soccer academy with certificates of awards on different areas ranging from the best disciplined, best timeliness, the best goal keeper, best defender, and best midfield and many other achievements. The last on the list are the third, second and first place awards for participation in the Uweza Soccer Academy's Points Program.

Earning points doesn’t come that easy for the players, their coaches carry out observations and write their reports at every training session and determine the points they award to their kids in areas such as discipline, effort, and attendance. The three players with the highest number of points from each category also receive prizes for their education such as school bags, uniforms, and payment of school fees. All active players in the program receive school notebooks and pens to hep with their studies.

The day started with a parents meeting, led by the Uweza Soccer Academy parents committee.  About 20 parents of players from different categories met to discuss issues such as the Points Program, community fundraising, and following up with coaches to discuss how players are doing in the program.  The meeting was led by Baba Faith, the elected Chairman of the committee who has three daughters participating in the girls team.

After the meeting, the prizegiving ceremony started with a word of prayer from one of the parents, followed by introduction of all the soccer coaches. The awards were first given to the girls’ team appreciating success, as each player received a certificate for having been active members of their club. The award for first place in points went to Sharon Chadota whom during my interview informed me that for one to be in her current position of success it takes so much hard work have patience and be presentable at all times as people look upon you. "I am very happy to have been awarded to day and I feel very much honored.  I know there is a lot to be done in order to still maintain this position,” Chadota told me.

Julia Adoyo receives the award for Most Disciplined on the girls team

Laurence Migele receives Leadership Award for boys Under-8 category
The next presentations that followed were for the boys categories, under-8 then the under-10, under-12, under-14, under-16 and finally the senior category. Alphonce Otieno took center stage by receiving a certificate of appreciation as the team's best player. "The fact that I have been chosen as the best, it doesn’t mean I shall stick on the same spot forever. I am looking forward to maintaining the same achievements come next time,” says Otieno.

Alphonce Otieno displays his Best Player certificate
With that the day came to an end after Mr. William Moi, the Program Manager took center stage in appreciating all the kids present including their parents for creating time to be here today.  "Working with the kids requires a joint effort both from our side as Uweza and also your side as parents. These kids playing soccer is not all in vain but for a purpose and that one day, they can all benefit,” noted Mr. Moi.

Mr. William Moi addressing the parents
Refreshments were served to all present after which everyone was at liberty to go at home at their own pleasure. I guess everybody was a winner in their small way as a victory in soccer needs combined efforts and the spirit of teamwork to get the most needed 3 points.

Uweza senior category

Jenipher Awuor, pictured here with Journalism Club Instructor Thomas Bwire, is a Form 2 (second year) high school student at Gigiri Lions Secondary School.  She is a member of the Uweza Journalism Club. 

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