Category Archive for "Footballs"

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Day 32 – World Cup Final – Main Bus Terminal, Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe

The World Cup Final – Africa Goal 2014’s final event – was held at Chinhoyi’s main bus terminal, a large bustling square lined with bars and shops. The team and partners, the Pumuhacha HIV/AIDS Prevention Project, arrived well ahead of the match to give plenty of time for the crowd to gather and receive HIV information. An information table was set up where people could get information about, and sign up for, HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) and Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) – it was great to see many accessing information and signing up for services.

Before, during and after the match, 360 packages of Africa Goal’s targeted Information Education and Communication (IEC) materials for adults were distributed. All the children in the audience also received the children’s IEC material packages, with a total of 440 children’s IEC materials provided to Pumuhacha HIV/AIDS Prevention Project, with the remaining to be distributed to the young people in their support groups for people living with HIV. The pre-match and half time HIV quizzes garnered much excitement, with prizes including FC Brugge football kit, OneWorldFutbols, and Africa Goal T-shirts. Given such prizes, we were surprised when one prize winner requested to swap her prize for an Africa Goal IEC bag. It turns out she is living with HIV, and was keen to have the cool bag we distribute the IEC materials in to carry her Anti-Retroviral medicines. We’re glad the bag will serve this other useful purpose, and she was pleased to keep both.

As time neared to kick-off the crowd continued to swell, emptying the surrounding bars and attracting many key target groups amongst the audience, including truck drivers, chibuku (sorghum beer) fans and sex workers. Seeing the screen from the road on the way home from work, or responding to the news that spread rapidly across the town, the event attracted a further mix of people unaccustomed to spending an evening in this part of Chinhoyi, let alone the bus station. This element was one appreciated by some audience members. Walking during the match, the team found the event had attracted a huge crowd of around 2000 people reaching far back from the screen, so we are very happy we had opted for such a large space! Luckily it was possible to follow the match from quite a distance and many were sitting and standing on their cars to have a better view. Quite a sight and sound, with the football commentary also playing on multiple car radios in Shona.

Germany v. Argentina proved a tense contest, between two very equally matched teams. Early on Argentina striker Higuain had a goal rightfully ruled out for offside, and Germany hit the post, but neither team could breakthrough before ninety minutes elapsed and the game went into extra-time. Lionel Messi, as ever, posed a great threat in Argentina’s attack, and looked the likeliest to prevent 2014’s final being decided by penalties. However, in the end it was the young Germany striker Mario Goetze who won the game in the 113th minute with a fine controlled finish. The excitement continued to the last as Messi had a final chance to keep Argentina in it, but his free kick went over the bar and the World Cup was Germany’s. With the added excitement of fireworks lit for the occasion, the celebrations erupted in the bus stop.

Despite the setting, large crowd and exciting match, the crowd remained relatively calm and dispersed soon after the the contest was won. Nevertheless, it was helpful to have a few police officers among the crowd– especially as one won a football for the youth football group during the quiz and it provided an opportunity to supply the police station toilets with condoms. It was striking how openly many audience members asked for additional condoms to those in their IEC kits, with over 1000 extra distributed. Indeed, a high number of sex workers work in the area, so the event was able to meet some of their sexual health needs.

We were very pleased to have the District AIDS Coordinator – the person responsible for HIV issues for the district – join us for the event, and that both she, and our partners at Pamuhacha were thrilled with the turn out and the outreach achieved. So were we, as several audience members thanked us wholeheartedly, as we set about taking down the Africa Goal rig for the last time in 2014.
A highlight for us all was to lighten our load of the four sandbags, each weighing between 50 and 60 kgs, that we had used to steady the screen. We had set up the screen next to a small stall – basically a man with a table and stool – at the side of the bus terminal, and he was delighted with the prospect of levelling his ‘shop’ floor with beautiful dark red sand from Kenya.

With plans already in the pipeline for Africa Goal 2018, we are looking forward to the forthcoming tournament in Russia… but not without some rest before the long drive back to Kenya first.

Trading Footballs – Singida

Name: Robert
Age: 13
Location: Singida, Tanzania

As we approached Singida late in the afternoon, we saw a small group of young children playing with small ball on the roadside. Stopping for a quick kickabout, we saw that their ball was made from a bundle of old plastic bags stuffed into an old sock which had then been folded back on itself and stitched – giving it a remarkable resemblance to a cricket ball.

Trading Footballs – Kadesh School

Name: Katesh Primary + Secondary School
Location: Katesh, Tanzania

Leaving Singida to reach Arusha, we passed Katesh school at morning break time and saw a number of groups of children playing with their homemade footballs in the school playground. We spoke to the Headmaster who was very excited about the project and welcomed the team in for a quick football match with the school team before class started again. Thankfully for the Africa Goal team, there was only limited playtime left for the school’s team to show off their rather superior skills! After the match, we exchanged the handmade footballs for our donated oneworldfutbols and select handballs for the youngest children. The Headmaster was also pleased to receive a Nike football for use by the school – for a rural school with limited resources, having a proper football is a rarity. There was a surprising range of different handmade football styles including plastic bag bound balls, balls stitched from cloth offcuts and stuffed with wool and a foam ball wrapped with an old rice bag.

Football Trading – Afterschool Ball-swap

Name: Blezi
Age: 15
Location: Near Manyoyi, Tanzania

Our next football trade took place after school, as a group of children were making there way home, playing with a homemade ball on their way. This was a quickfire trade, but we had a quick round of keepy-uppies with Blezi 15, before exchanging one of our One World Futbol balls with Blezi’s sky-blue and yellow plastic bag and string ball, and getting back on the road.

Football Trading – Kigoyi’s Maradona

Name: Al-Hajji
Age: 10
Location: Kigoyi, Tanzania

Now on our way back to Nairobi, but still keen to continue the football trading arm of the project, we spied a roadside kickaround in Kigoyi and arranged a quick game. Al-Hajji, the 10-year-old who had crafted the ball from plastic and string, was the star of the show, scoring some excellent goals. Clearly his low centre of gravity was a big advantage (at least that’s what we told ourselves…) Al-Hajji was very pleased to receive a One World Futbol in exchange for his ball. The fact that it won’t be punctured by thorns gives him limitless opportunity to improve his skills – a frightening prospect should we revisit Kigoyi on the next trip in 2018.

Football Trading – Lusaka streetball

Name: Sidin
Age: 11
Location: Mtendere, Lusaka

While waiting to meet our partners for the Argentina-Switzerland game in Mtendere, Lusaka, we spotted a group of kids playing football near the Mahatma Gandhi Primary School. We went over to join them and a game began at frantic pace. Africa Goal players had fun adapting to the concrete pitch and obstacles they weren’t used to in this urban setting. As our partners arrived we had to move on to set up for the game, but before doing so traded one of our Nike Belgium balls for the match ball, a plastic creation made by Sidin, aged 11.

Football Trading – Who ate all the pies?

Name: David
Age: 13
Location: Mtendere, Lusaka

We made a second ball trade in Mtendere, Lusaka, at the site where we eventually showed the Argentina- Switzerland game. David, 13, had taken part in the game we played by the primary school, and followed us all the way to the event to exchange his homemade ball for one of our One World Futbol donations. David’s ball was finished with a protective layer of bakery packaging, reminding us of the delicious Zambian meat pies we had eaten on the journey to Lusaka.

Day 20 – Mtendere, suburb of Lusaka, Zambia

After a day in Lusaka catching up on project communications, getting supplies and repairs for one of our cars, half the team went ahead to meet event partners SafAIDS and AIDS Healthcare Foundation and begin the set up, while the other half waited for the car to return from the garage. The second party were not long behind, after a problem with the planned location required some quick thinking and a new site to be arranged – a clearing next to a small but bustling row of shops in the Mtendere suburb of Lusaka.

This was the most urban Africa Goal event yet, with permission acquired from a local business owner, light for the HIV Testing and Counselling (HCT) tent plugged in at the barbers and the satellite dish in someone’s backyard. Though on a quiet road, there was still a lot of foot traffic and over the course of the evening around 1000 people stopped to watch the Switzerland v. Argentina game, speak to Africa Goal team members and partners or avail of the HIV information and services. 50 people were tested for HIV on-site.

With 300 audience members at any one time in this small space, the atmosphere was pretty lively, especially during the quiz at half-time, when eagerness to answer questions and potentially win an Africa Goal t-shirt or OneWorldFutbol ran high.

The match itself was a display of excellent football despite the lack of goal scoring. Switzerland put up a valiant fight and managed to deflect the efforts of the Argentine attackers and force extra time, with the score at 0-0 after 90 minutes. Lionel Messi finally unlocked the Swiss defence with three minutes to spare before penalties, sliding a killer pass through for Di Maria to finish and win the match in the nick of time.

As well as learning about HIV and appreciating the opportunity for free testing, several audience members wanted to join Africa Goal. We hope to see a new young Zambian-led Africa Goal for the Africa Cup of Nations emerging in the near future.

Day 18 – Luangeni, near Chipata, Zambia

Day 18 saw another lightning-quick set up, with the team meeting up with partner District AIDS Coordinating Adviser, Mr. Charles Ngala to find slight confusion over the dates of the Zambia events required a last minute change of location. Nevertheless, word of mouth and a drive-by round up on the way to the event location in the village of Luangeni with no electricity and no TVs – gathered around 500 people before long.

Leading up to the match and during half time, Mr. Ngala took the opportunity to address key HIV issues in the area using a quiz format with Misgav Football Club jerseys and shorts as prizes. Through the activity, the audience were informed about the continued though reduced risk of HIV infection after male circumcision and the need to continue prevention measures; mother to child transmission, and in particular the need to take medicine prescribed during pregnancy to reduce risk of catching malaria, as illness during pregnancy increases risk of transmission; and the policy that HIV tests for couples are a standard part of prenatal care. Information about how couples can continue to protect themselves when one partner is HIV positive, and when both are, to avoid reinfection, was also provided. Kits were excitedly received and immediately worn.

The match was thrilling with Mexico leading 1-0 despite numerous threats from the Netherlands’ attackers until they eventually succeeded in the 88th minute and then again with a late penalty in the 4th minute of injury time to turn the match around and win 2-1. Although some in the audience were supporting Mexico, many were fully behind the Netherlands, perhaps due to the historical Dutch presence in the area surrounding the village. The crowd went wild dancing and cheering. The team received plenty of hearty thanks and handshakes, including an offer to reduce the dust on the promise we would return for the next tournament.

Trading Footballs – Beach Football

Name: Yotam
Age: 10
Location: Nkhotakota

On the shores of Lake Malawi the Africa Goal team got involved in our first game on a sand pitch. We enjoyed a fun game playing against some locals well-versed in Brazilian-style beach-soccer skills. Here we exchanged one of the indestructible balls donated by One World Futbol, for the ball we had played with, which featured a condom bladder covered in plastic and string, hand-made by Yotam, 10. After taxing our legs to earn a 2-2 draw with the Malawians, we were more than happy to cool off in “the sweet sweet waters of Lake Malawi,” as aptly described by an immigration policeman on the way there.

Trading Footballs – Lakeside Acrobatics

Name: Isaac
Age: 14
Location: Nkhotakota

Enjoying a rest day in Nkhotakota with no matches to screen, we were again pleased to join in a lakeside kickabout with some locals. As demonstrated in the photo above, some more Rio beach-style skills were on display, as we got involved in an extended overhead-kick training session. After honing our football acrobatics, another ball featuring a condom bladder was exchanged with Isaac, 14, for one of our Nike Belgium donations.

Day 17 – Chinyama Village, Malawi (near Salima): Nail-biting Penalty Shootout Brings the Crowd to Their Feet

After a much needed day off at Lake Malawi, the team made the short drive southwards towards Salima for the start of the group playoffs. We showed the Brazil-Chile match in the small village of Chinyama, several kilometers down a dirt road, where electricity and running water are still conveniences of the future. It was a friendly crowd of about 400, many of whom had heard about the event from the local chief, who had been informed by our partner organization, Salima AIDS Support Organization (SASO). Having been there before with the same partners in 2010, the Africa Goal team received a warm welcome as we arrived at the local football pitch. The crowd’s level of knowledge about HIV/Aids is a testament to SASO’s hard work in the area. Almost everyone asked knew that HIV testing was available at the nearby hospital, or as part of SASO’s outreach activities, and that antiretrovirals are available to those who test positive.

Our second partner organization for the evening, Play Soccer, was also in attendance and provided us with 20 additional One World Futbol Project indestructible balls for trading. Similar to the Africa Goal project, Play Soccer uses football as a platform for addressing health and other social development issues. One of the many of the successes of the event was the meeting of these two organizations, who were enthusiastic about the possibility of collaborating in the future.

Before the match, SASO facilitated an HIV question and answer session with the crowd and the prizes included football jerseys, shorts and tracksuits donated by Club Brugge in Belgium. The timing of the prize jackets was perfect as the night got cooler and others ran home to get sweaters and blankets. The session was useful as it illuminated a lack of understanding about the relationship between HIV and TB, which is an area the organization will focus on addressing in this community. During half time, SASO showed a short video entitled Never Too Late about a young Malawian woman who has overcome many hardships and is hoping to improve her life and support her children by completing her education and becoming a nurse.

The Brazil-Chile penalty shootout made for a frenzied finale to the night. Although many of the youngest children had already been sent to bed, there was still a big group of front-row fans split down the middle with one side cheering for Chile and the other for Brazil. It was a friendly rivalry, with each side chanting for their team as the players took their shots. The Africa Goal team was also fully invested, having placed bets on the match earlier in the day. When the final Brazil goal went in, the kids all jumped up to cheer in the beam of the projector. Their shadows danced on the screen until the generator went quiet and we packed everything up for the next day.

Trading Footballs – Gunners Pub dustball

Name: Michael Holmes
Age: 11
Place: Nr. Chipata, Zambia

Just over the Zambian border, near Chipata, we stopped outside ‘The Gunners Pub’ to pick up some water and met Michael Holmes, 11. Michael was playing with his friends with a ball he had made from melted plastic and scraps of plastic bag, nicely coloured by the accumulation of red dust…He was happy to exchange his creation for a ball donated to Africa Goal by Select Denmark. As Michael and co. began another kickabout with their new Select ball, we wondered if one day a certain Mr. Wenger might one day pay a visit to ‘The Gunners Pub’ to scout for a new playmaker while enjoying a cold Mosi.

Trading Footballs – Khazakani four-a-side

Name: Virtan
Age: 12
Location: Khazakani, Malawi

On the way to the Malawi-Zambia border we stopped at a village called Khazakani and took part in an excellent game of four-a-side, which drew quite a crowd, a few of whom acted as referees and linesmen to ensure offsides and corners were correctly awarded. This was one of the most competitive matches so far, as we struggled to contain the opponents’ menacing four-goal target-man (“watch the kid in blue”), and one of our players acquired some impressive blisters from the hard dirt pitch. At the end of the game we exchanged a ball donated by Nike Belgium for the match ball, made from melted plastic by Virtan, 12, and staggered back into the Land Rover.

Trading Footballs – Dusty Pitch Outside Mbeya

Name: Abbas
Age: 14
Location: Village outside Mbeya, on the way to Malawi

Joined a big game en route from Iringa to the Tanzania-Malawi border, and traded one of the footballs kindly donated by Nike Belgium. Abbas, 14, and his friends were very happy to take the Nike ball in exchange for his own creation, fashioned from scraps of plastic bag, fabric and string. The game was a great pit-stop for the Africa Goal team, though our players found it hard to cope with Ronaldo-esque stepovers from a young left-winger in the midday sun.

Trading Footballs – Nkhata Bay

Further along the road in the region full of rubber trees near Nkata Bay, we spotted a lively late-afternoon game that looked too fun not to join in. Here we traded a One World Futbol ball with their hand-made team ball. The ball we received had a similar feel to the one we got from Manmade, likely to have the same base of a bladder with rubber strips, but this time it also had a protective layer of colourful fabric, plastic and yarn. From playing with the team we soon saw the reason the team added the protective layer to the ball, as their skillful passing showed the signs of plenty of practice. Their new ball should last a lot longer!

Trading Balls – Rubber Tree Balls

Our next football trade was with a shopkeeper called Manmade, close to Nkata Bay, Malawi, on our way to screen the Portugal-Ghana game. The rubber trees in this area provide an abundance of crude rubber, a superb material for football-crafting. In exchange for a One World football, we received an expertly made rubber ball, very bouncy and fun to play with. The ball was built with a bladder inside, and then hundreds of long thin strips of rubber latticed on top. Manmade also showed us the seeds from which the rubber trees grow, and introduced us to his son outside his roadside shop.

Trading Footballs – Lua Mbuyuni

Name: Ari
Age: 15
Location: Lua Mbuyuni

Traded a One World Futbol Project football with Ari, 15, at the side of the road in Lua Mbuyuni. The ball we got in exchange from Ari was made from plastic and string, but no time for a game on this occasion as the goats he and his brothers were looking after had started hoofing it down the road. Manchester City or Bermuda fans of a certain age might fondly remember former striker Shaun ‘feed the goat’ Goater. Perhaps in a few years time a new Sky Blues signing might arrive from Baobab Valley, Tanzania.

Trading Footballs – Leopard Print

Name: Allie
Age: 13
Location: Chamwino Village

Chamwino Village had a unique style of homemade footballs – made from scrap pieces of fabric hand-stitched together and stuffed with old mattress foam. We traded a leopard skin print stitched ball with Allie, 13 years old from Chamwino Village, who was thrilled with his indestructible One World futbol ball.

Trading Footballs – Against the Clock

Name: Abdul
Age: 12
Location: Mutukula

On route from Mutukula (on the border between Uganda and Tanzania), we saw a number of groups of children playing roadside football games with their handmade footballs.  We were against the clock as had 750km still to cover but couldn’t resist stopping for a quick kickabout. Playing first with their handmade ball, then switching ends and playing with a OWFP ‘nearly indestructible’ football which we traded. The kids were thrilled with their new ball and ran off to show their friends as we pulled away to continue our long drive, grateful for the quick break.

Day 5 – Mbita: Battling the elements on the football field

It’s always slightly disheartening to wake up to a puncture – even more so to wake up to two – one on each vehicle! Luckily there was a workshop nearby so, after some quick tyre changes, we had all our tyres back in working order and headed off to Mbita, on the shores of Lake Victoria, for our fifth event. On arrival, we met with our partners for the event – PS Kenya and family FACES (Family AIDS Care and Education Services) and decided on the central football field for the event.

The Africa Goal team began setting up on the football field whilst our partners rigged up some speakers and a PA system to the roof of their car and drove around town to announce to everyone that the event was about to start. A crowd quickly gathered, intrigued by what this bright yellow-clad bunch of people were doing with a huge screen and satellite dish on the field!

Medical Corps International (MCI) also arrived to set up their tents for HIV counselling and testing, which quickly got underway as the match started. In the meantime, the PS Kenya and FACES peer educators circulated amongst the crowd to speak to small groups about testing and demonstrating correct use of condoms.

Since we had such a big open space to work with, we left off the backing of the screen so that people could watch from either side. Everything was going swimmingly until a huge wind swept in, our massive screen straining against the force like a sail! With team members struggling to hold the screen in place, and not sure whether the wind was coming ahead of a rain storm, we decided to lay the screen down for a while to assess the situation. The wind had also blown the satellite dish over, losing signal in the process. Thankfully, the wind died down as suddenly as it had started and the rain clouds blew past us so we were able to get it back up and running pretty, with a big cheer from the crowd as the match came back on the screen, this time with the cars parked behind the screen to protect it from any more sudden wind gusts.

Unfortunately , the HIV testing tent had also been blown down by the wind so testing had to come to a halt, although MCI have a drop-in centre nearby in the town so anyone who hadn’t managed to access testing on the night was introduced to the medical doctors and referred for testing at the centre the next day. On the night, 19 people accessed HIV testing – and at least 20 more were expected the following day – not a bad result for an area where HIV stigma and discrimination remains high.

During half time and after the match, the peer educators took to the platform to hold HIV questions and answer sessions with the audience members. This was a great opportunity to dispel some of the common HIV myths which prevail, such as whether HIV can be transmitted through kissing or sharing plates and where HIV comes from (many people continue to believe that people living with HIV have been cursed).

Trading Footballs – Elias Kiplagat

Name: Elias Kiplagat
Age: 13
Location: Kerio Valley, on the way to Eldoret

“I made this ball out of plastic bags found on the road – we play every afternoon when it is not as hot….this is amazing! I had a real ball last year but it got punctured after two days.”

Trading Footballs – Joseph Omondi

Name: Joseph Omondi
Age: 12
Location: Just outside Rongo town, Western Kenya

Joseph was thrilled to trade his homemade football constructed from layered plastic bags for a One World Futbol ‘almost indestructible’ ball – after the trade, he ran to catch up with his friends to show off his new ball and have a quick kickabout before school started: “Me and my friends play football on the way to school – it is our hobby – class starts in 10 minutes”



The Worlds Most Durable Ball – Partnering with Africa Goal

Africa Goal is proud to be partnering with One World Futball during the 2014 Campaign. Throughout the campaign Africa Goal will be distributing the “world’s most durable ball” as part of Africa Goal’s Footballs Trading concept and as prizes during partner events.

The One World Futball is a nearly indestructible ball that never needs a pump and never goes flat—even when punctured multiple times. Whether for use at the beach, on the street, at home or on the roughest landscapes in the world, the One World Fotball will last for years. 
As an organisation One World Futball’s mission is to bring the healing power of play to youth worldwide by making, selling and distributing nearly indestructible balls that survive the harshest environments. Collaborating with sponsors, organizations and individuals, One World Futball deliver balls to disadvantaged communities where play and sport are used to foster social change.

Africa Goal looks forward to the excitement on so many people’s faces on receipt of a One World Futbol across East and Southern Africa. Check back here for the updates and stories!

The Making of a Football

Do you know how to make a football? This one starts off as a condom!…  Another (albeit unexpected) link between football and HIV and a great reason to distribute factory standard balls through Africa Goal’s trading footballs initiative. Every football that Africa Goal collects through the trading footballs initiative is unique, made from different materials and has it’s own story…

SELECT Footballs Donation

One of the 2010 Africa Goal sponsors – SELECT Sports, the premium sports brand from Denmark, is once again donating high quality footballs towards the Africa Goal project. These footballs will be used as prizes during partner led events, as well supporting the trading footballs program. The Africa Goal team thanks SELECT for their continued Support of the Project.

SELECT…since 1947
Light years back, before the era of modern football began, SELECT’s founder, Eigil Nielsen, wrote the first lines in the story of the lace-less ball and the development which has led to the ball sport’s universe we know today.

SELECT has since revolutionized both the football and handball world with the 32 small panels that form the basis of the balls used for all football and handball tournaments all over the world today. And SELECT’s cooperation with a wide range of top clubs and leagues all over the world bears witness to a legacy and responsibility, however unspecific and weightless it may be.

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Africa Goal 2014 Fundraising Campaign Launch

The Africa Goal project would not be possible without the generous support and donations of organisations, companies and individuals like you.

Please visit our crowdsourcing campaign page in order to help us raise funds for the 2014 Africa Goal project, using Causevox and Stripe to process credit card donations simply and securely. All funds raised from the website go towards the purchase of necessary broadcasting equipment, HIV & AIDS awareness materials being developed in conjunction with our partners, travel costs as well as footballs for trading.

Through our fundraising page you can see specific items we are fundraising for. To find out more details about the project as well as specific budget details please download the 2014 Africa Goal Project Proposal. 

Please follow the link to support Africa Goal – we are hugely grateful for any contribution that you can make.

Support Africa Goal 2014