Victor Wanyama attends Jersey 4 Football festival in Nairobi

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Victor Wanyama MYSA

Tottenham Hotspur defender, Victor Wanyama, was back in Kenya this weekend for the Football for Jersey 4 Football Football Foundation Peace Festival at Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) aimed at fostering peaceful coexistence among Kenyans during this electioneering period.

The tournament, a partnership between Mathare Youth Sports Association and charitable organization Jersey2Africa4Football Foundation, brought together 8 teams from across the city in the competition where matches were not officiated by a referee.

Instead a Street World Football format called ‘football3’ was followed which promotes peace, fair play and gender equality above winning.

Victor Wanyama at MYSA
Victor Wanyama at the Football Festival for Peace at MYSA. Photo: Facebook/MYSA Kenya

A total of eight teams took part at both U10 and U14 category. Each team had eight players made up of 4 girls and 4 boys playing a six-a-side format with rolling substitutes.

“As we head towards election, it is important that we preach peace across Kenya, that is why I’m part of Football Festival for Peace this Saturday. Sport is the best unifying factor, football brings us together.”

– Victor Wanyama

Tweeting about the event, the defender, who is also the charity’s ambassador, described the festival as ‘wonderful’ to attend, as it allowed him to ‘interact with young players.’

Jersey 2 Africa 4 Football Foundation

The Jersey based non-profit organisation’s mission is dedicated to improving young lives in Africa both on and off the field.

Working within one of the worst slum regions on the outskirts of Nairobi the Jersey 2 Africa 4 Football Foundation in the past 2 years has achieved its mission in terms of improving and enhancing the lives of around 300 young men and women, boys and girls in the Mukuru slum district of the Embakasi region in Nairobi City, which is home to approximately 1.3 million people.

Victor Wanyama MYSA
Over 200 players and coaches received these personally signed inspirational and motivational messages from their hero. Photos: Twitter/VictorWanyama and Twitter/j2a4football

The football federation was set-up by Ricky Weir, a former Jersey Footballer of the Year during his playing days and more recently a President of the Jersey FA.

Its formation stemmed from a visit to Nairobi in Nov 2012 with Paul Bell, who runs the Nairobi Slums Schools Project Trust, with the intention of helping to distribute locally donated sports kit to children and adults in the Mukuru slum, which forms part of the Embakasi district, home to over 1 million people living in complete squalor most with little or no electric, running water or sewerage services.

Victor Wanyama MYSA
The Jersey 2 Africa 4 Football Tournament at MYSA. Photo: Twitter/VictorWanyama

The original purpose of the trip was help out redecorating at the school, but on the first day Ricky was greeted by well over 100 young footballers and their coaches (they had been told that a foreign football coach was visiting) who then played a match to demonstrate their skills.

Victor Wanyama at MYSA
The Football Festival for Peace at MYSA. Photo: Facebook/MYSA Kenya

When asked if he would do some coaching, despite some significant challenges including a lack of equipment and a shocking pitch, he found himself putting his boots back on after 10 years and conducting daily coaching sessions for almost 2 weeks and rather than spending the trip with a paint brush in his hand. He spent most of this time teaching and coaching over 250 players under the hot African sun on a rock strewn football field.

Twelve days of hands on involvement with coaching, supporting, managing and teaching players, coaches, management and officials created the desire for Ricky to help them going forward in a sustainable way.  This then created the inspiration to form the Jersey 2 Africa 4 Football Foundation on 18 January 2013.

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