Everybody's favourite game...football!
The PE Volunteers have been working towards limiting the amount of Football played during PE lessons. This is not because we do not like Football, but that is all the students do. When the students play Football during break time and outside of school there is very little structure to a game and generally involves students senselessly kicking a ball around a field. With limited Football in PE and unstructured games played by the students myself and some other volunteers decided to organise a Football competition to fuel the students Football passion in a controlled and meaningful environment.
Originally, a competition was organised to host a game between the two schools that GVI work with in Mombasa with hope that we would have enough teachers and volunteers from both schools to play the winning team. The game was to be held at a field near Olives. With little idea of the field condition or where it actually was, we collected the Football team and supporters from Nyota and walked them to Olives. From Olives we walked the teams and supporters to the playing field, which is literally in the middle of a dump. The walk involved walking through mounds of rubbish and compost with no sign of a field. Finally, we walked over a larger mound, which gave us a view of the entyre field. The field comprised of half dirt/coral, half grass and to our surprise another school, Victoria’s, running around.
After discussions with the teachers of Victoria’s, they agreed that we could use the field provided they could also have a team play in the competition. It was a great inclusion to the competition adding more excitement and action. It also allowed a larger teachers/volunteers team to form with the inclusion of Victoria’s teachers.
The first game was between the original two inclusions, Nyota and Olives. After an intense 30 minute game the teams drew the game 0 – 0. To determine a winner the game went to a three man penalty goal shoot-out. The shoot-out was a culmination of the determination and passion that these students have for sport and Football. On one side of the goal aligned Olives team and supporters with Nyota on the other side. One by one, players took their shot at goal with a huge celebration of cheering and dancing taking over the pitch after each shot. It was evident just how important a single game of Football can be to these students when some are biting their fist in an anxious wait to the lead up and kick of a goal. The shoot-out came to a 1 – 1 draw with one last Olives player to kick for goal. The goal was scored pushing Olives through to the next game. The entyre Olives team erupted into cheer, dance and even a victory lap. You could see the look of disappointment in the Nyota team, however they kept their heads high and congratulated each other at the end.
Olives then moved onto the next round against the nervously awaited Victoria’s team. Again, it was a tough game finishing in a 0 – 0 draw. Olives experience in the previous penalty goal shoot-out help lead them to a 2 -1 win against the unexpected challengers. The second win by Olives progressed them through to the final game against the competition favourites, the well trained and adapted combined teachers/volunteers.
The teacher’s team had only recently been formed with players meeting other player’s moments before the game. Spectators believed that the trained and experienced Olives team could easily take on the unexpected, collabourated teacher’s team. However, the determination and athleticism of the teacher’s team caught Olives off guard. Although Olives retained the majority of the possession the diehard teacher team never succumbed to the on-going pressure. What the students did not know is that teachers are resilient professionals who are forced to perform to a high standard every day in front of every class, a valuable skill that took the teachers to a 1 – 1 draw with just 1 minute to play. Finally, it was Olives that were overcome by the pressure and high standard of strategic Football ability from the teacher team. Ultimately, the teacher’s took the 2 – 1 win in the finally seconds of the game.
To date the competition has been the most amazing experience I have witnessed in Kenya. It shows how determined the students here are. Even just a small competition becomes an event to look forward to and become nervous about. All the students had smiles on their faces, even the cheerleaders from each school. Although the field is in the middle of a dump, coral piercing out of the ground, no shade at all, 30 degree heat and 90% humidity the kids played a lot harder then I have seen in Australia. It was very inspirational.
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