Soccer in Mathare

True Colours Football Club players during a training session

When it comes to soccer Mathare Valley can boast of being the only slum in Kenya to have ever produced national coaches for senior and junior teams. This is apart from grooming some of the best soccer players such as the Mulama brothers.
Former Harambee Star coach, Francis Kimanzi was born and brought up in Mathare Mlango Kubwa area while Gabriel Njoroge from Mathare Village 2 became the national coach for Kenya U23 soccer team. Their prowess in soccer skills is a testimony of untapped talent that lies in most slums in the world.
However you will be shocked to learn that no ground has been improved to nurture untapped talent in the slum of Mathare. In Mlango Kubwa, youths depend on the St. Teresa’s Girls Secondary while in Mathare Village 2 where Gabriel Njoroge popularly known as Kingi grew up young soccer players use the Mathari Police Depot grounds. The next ground if found next to Kiboro Primary School, which is referred to as Austin Ground, which is only half size of a normal pitch.
In Huruma, we have Huruma Stadium which hosts most of the soccer tournaments in Starehe Constituency. But what makes soccer the most popular sports in the Mathare? Soccer has always been used by politicians to secure votes among the youthful population within Mathare.  As we approach elections in 2012, youth will be preparing to attract politician. Soccer is used as crowd puller. NGOs have also used the sport to attract or educate the youth about substance abuse and created awareness on HIV/AIDS.
Local communities have been forced to utilize limited space available to their advantage. In Huruma, some parking and open spaces are used by children to play soccer or any sport. In Mathare soccer is the biggest crowd puller more than any other sports.
The future of Kenya lies in its ability to tap raw talents in marginalized communities such slums and arid areas of Northern Kenya. – Simon


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