Monday, August 20, 2012

Uniting Kibera through Soccer

by Jen Sapitro

On Sunday August 19th, I paid a visit to Toi Primary to watch the Uweza Kibra league in action. The league, which brings together soccer clubs from throughout Kibera to compete in matches every Sunday at Toi Primary School, is now in it's eighth month after kicking off in January 2012 .  Uweza hosts and manages the league and provides the field, goal posts, balls, and referees.

According to League Coordinator and Uweza Under-12 coach Joash Ngaira, the league was initiated to enhance competition among young soccer players in Kibera.  Normally, players in Kibera are only able to participate in tournaments during school holidays and the league gives them the rare chance to play in competitive matches on a weekly basis.

Kibera Mtaani Girls play against Brothers FC Under-12
Players from seven different soccer clubs are currently participating in the first edition of the league.  Joash Ngaira says that the first edition was intended as a pilot project to see if there would be interest and participation among Kibera clubs.   So far, the league has been a success and there are plans to expand it's reach in the second edition, which will begin in January 2013.

Marren U-12 vs. Villa U-10
Uweza Team Manager Charles Kaindi hopes to recruit nine more clubs next year to bring the total participation to 16 Kibera clubs. A Junior League will also be started for Under-8 teams, who have been getting the occasional chance to play in the league but rarely participate in tournaments or friendly matches due to their young age.

video
Uweza U-8 vs KiMMta U-8 in action

To motivate the players, teams will be asked to contribute to a participation fee that will be used to make management of the league more professional and to purchase certificates, trophies, and medals to award the winners.

Uweza Team Manager Charles Kaindi adds that the league was intended to unite players, coaches, and Team Managers from throughout Kibera to improve the quality of soccer in the slum. As the league continues to grow, Uweza hopes to select players to participate in a Kibera United youth team that will represent the best in Kibera soccer in tournaments throughout Kenya and East Africa.

Some of the Uweza Kibra League players and coaches
 Final results for Sunday 19th August, 2012:

Barclays Africa (Uweza U-12) vs Brazaville (Uweza U-10) : 4-1                               
Marren U-12 vs Villa U-10 : 3-1                                              
Brothers U-12 vs KiMMta Girls: 2-0                  
Uweza Girls vs New Stars (Brothers FC) : 1-0          
Uweza U-8 vs KiMMta U-8 : 3-0            
Brothers U-8 vs Marren U-8 :1-0
Slum Soccer U-10 vs. New Stars (Brothers FC): 0-6
Slum Soccer U-12 vs. Black Stars: 2-0             

For league standings, check out: www.uweza.org/soccer/kibraleague.html

If you are a Kibera soccer club interested in participating in the next edition of the league, contact us at 0714371964 or uwezakenya@gmail.com.


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