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GSFC - Football in Mombasa

Date 06/10/2017

The U17 & U19 teams of the German School Football Centre have been in Mombasa from Friday, October 6th to Sunday to play against Bandari FC and Nyali YC.  The journey had no technical hick-ups and was a wonderful experience.  The private busses in Nairobi and Mombasa were in time, the new SGR-train carried us like on silk, the train personnel was kind with a Chinese still here and there, Mombasa offered its best:  easy-going Swahili and not to warm, lunch on Saturday on a gorgeous terrace above the Old Port for 460 KES, the 2 nights in a proper apartment hotel at the North Coast, a 60.000 tons freighter leaving the post just when we arrived and the ocean with high tide and beautiful waves when we were at Big Tree Beach.  Of our 22 players, 15 had never seen the ocean.  

On Saturday morning, the U17 of Bandari FC was just a bit too strong for our team with Julian, Tim, Andy, Karl, and Timon.  At half time, it was still 0 : 0, but in spite of strong efforts by each of our players and 2 misses we had lost 3 : 0 at the end.  In the afternoon after visits to the harbor, Fort Jesus, and the Old Town, we submerged into the congested and steaming market area of Kongwea and found a brand-new stadium with artificial lawn and stands with colourful seatings – a project of Mombasa County for the local communities.  We find 100 of kids on the pitch and later on the stands.

And then the U19 - team of the Nyali Sports & Youth Centre: Technically perfect, one big family, fast like an indoor team.   For 5 minutes, our players do not know where the ball is, could easily have received 4 goals in this time would the boys in blue have managed to find the empty goal or would our goalie Martin Muinde not have been so phantastically awake.   Slowly, the techniques of Alphonse Omijah and Joseph Ndolo as well as the fighting spirit of the whole team allowed us to assume more control of the midfield.  And then Julias Juma shoots from 16 meters – the ball slides form the goalie’s fingers into the goal.  The crowd laughs loudly.   A few minutes later, Graig Karanja makes it 2 : 0.  It gets  quiet on the stands.  But only for a short while.  The boys in bright-blue make 2 beautiful goals.  Our players remain calm.  Then one of our fast wingers is sent forward again with a long pass and Graig blasts the ball from a rather narrow angle into the upper corner of the goal – 3 : 2 – the final result.

We receive hugs from the huge and henna-bearded coach of Nyali, Batis Tuta and a preacher from the near mosque.  Also Issa is present, the youth coach of Bandari FC, who had organized the matches, and Samuel Wamwea, the principal of a secondary school in Mtwapa, who voluntarily had arranged for the bus transport and did not leave us the whole day.  We promise to see each other all again next year.    

Suddenly there is a huge cake in the middle of the field in the shape of a football.  Ali Kiplagat, our coach has his birthday and his sister, living in Mombasa remembered it.  There is enough cake for both teams and the coaches.  Later, in the bus with singing and a rap-interlude by Ali, it becomes evident how much the trip has bonded the teams.       

The costs of everything?  Not too much – 10.000 KES per player, all included.  The parents of 15 players could not contribute anything.  The one big sponsor could not be found.  Mango-Moebel, Thanawalla Insurance Brokers, neighbours, parents of other players.  The generosity was very encouraging – thank you all.

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