Soccer is like a religion in Kibera. Favorite teams are followed with passion and each weekend local matches draw hundreds of cheering fans. Simply put, soccer has the power to bring Kibera together. Tribal rivalries and daily frustrations are left on the sidelines and players unite and play with singular purpose on the field. To encourage this unity and positive communication among the various ethnic groups, all the teams in CFK’s Sports Association are comprised of players from different ethnic tribes. Last year, over 5,000 boys and girls participated in CFK’s annual soccer tournament; each learning the importance of working together on and off the field. For an additional twist to the challenge day, make sure each of your teams is made up of people from different communities and backgrounds.
When the kids come together from different tribes they make one team, and teamwork now unites them. When they get into the pitch, people forget to mention if they are a Luo or a Kamba or a Kikuyu. But they focus on the goal that they belong to this team and we are all Kenyans.
Everyone is connected to the game somehow, whether by watching, playing, organizing, or just generally loving the sport. Every time I walk into Kibera, I see kids playing soccer within seconds. They don’ t need much to play - just a rock, or an old beach ball, or a ball made from plastic bags and string. Once a ball-like object appears, the game is on, and
anyone is welcome to play. When walking through the paths of Kibera, I often stop for a bit to join in on these pick-up games, usually garnering a squeal of delight from the young children playing. Every time I touch the ball, or fake someone out, or lose possession, there is a response from the group around me. Everyone is excited that the mzungu (white person) is the same as them, just another person with an inexplicable love of such a simple, beautiful game.