MYSA & Mathare United
Like in many places in the world, football is hugely popular in Kenya, a country with a population of approximately 45 million. For the last decade or so, most Kenyan football fans watch the Premier League religiously, and Arsenal and Manchester United are the most followed teams.
There is another side to football in Kenya, though, and it is a story of the power of football in the community. In 1984, Bob Munro, a Canadian, organised youth groups in the deprived Mathare slums into the Mathare Youth Sports Association, MYSA.
He used football to unite the several communities and give youth hope in one of the poorest slums in Africa. The mission of MYSA is to give responsibility to the young people of the area, train them with useful skills and encourage them to spread these skills.
The association now has a remarkable 1,800 teams organised in 140 youth leagues – they work in other countries in Africa too. Along with three points for a win, teams can get points for completing community projects. Players who are especially hard working can have their school fees paid for the, by the association. Players, boys and girls, are taught AIDS awareness, help clean up their communities, and are encouraged to learn to read and write.
MYSA also provides the coaches and players for Mathare United, a team from the area playing in the top flight in Kenya. Founded in 1994, the ‘Slum Boys‘ have won the championship once, in 2008, as well as lifting the Presidents Cup in 1998. They currently have one member of their squad n the Kenyan national team, too, Harrison Mwendwa.
While the Premier League may give many dreams of being a star, MYSA work hard to make those dreams come true.
watch religiously: always watch; never miss a match; watch with lots of passion
slum: very poor area usually on the outskirts of a city; ghetto; shanty town
slum boys: Mathare United’s knickname
- Mathare United webiste
- roadsandkingdoms Blog post on MYSA and Bob Munro