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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Embracing sports as a catalyst of social change in Ol-Moran Ward

By Bob Aston
Sports is arguably the only universal language and has been proven to promote unity, coherence and identity of community members.
It has been proven to bring about exchange and building relationships between different groups including as a non-verbal means of communication, helping communities engage in collective experiences, establishing direct physical contacts amongst the players and supporters as well as its ability to transcend class divisions.
The MCA addressing football players and supporters
In Ol-Moran Ward, Laikipia West Sub County, the area Member of County Assembly (MCA) Hon Duncan Ndegwa has popularized football in the ward by organizing various football tournaments.
The tournaments are usually organized to avoid idleness among the youths in Ol-Moran ward, increase competitiveness among soccer clubs in the ward, to identify and develop soccer talents and to promote club development in the ward.
The tournaments have become a common occurrence at Sipili Football Stadium to the extent that locals are usually seen every Sunday afternoon streaming to the stadium to catch a glimpse of their local teams in action.
Football has brought communities in the ward together. Seeing football enthusiasts together on Sundays cheering their teams and holding their breath in unison at every big moment depicts sports as a bonding tool that has helped many youths in the area to spend their weekends productively.
Football teams such as Charlton United, Ol-Moran FC, Nagum FC, Super eleven, Sipili Secondary School, Lariak Day Secondary School, Bondeni FC and Kio FC have now become household names and most football fans openly associate with one of the teams.
“Football has become a common language in Ol-Moran Ward. It is now a common denominator that breaks down all the cultural barriers of the various communities in the ward. Anyone can enjoy a game of football regardless of political ideologies, ethnicity or religion. Youths in the ward are now ambassadors for bringing tolerance and respect for each other,” said Ms. Grace Wangui from Ol-Moran MCA’s office.
Football supporters cheering their teams
At the grassroots level the football tournament has created an environment in which youths in the area have come together to not only hone their skills but also entertain themselves. Players particularly drawn from Charlton United and Bondeni FC have even started testing their strength with teams drawn from Thigithi Ward.
Mr. John Chege, a resident of Sipili said that most youths are now spending their time engaging in sports instead of idling. He noted that the level of sportsmanship portrayed by both the football players as well as the supporters has left an indelible mark in the sporting fraternity in the ward.
“The MCA has really engaged youths through sports. This is something that we support as youths and we will always appreciate such initiatives. The standards of football has also improved,” said Mr. Chege.
The bottom line is, sports create a sense of community and togetherness among people from all walks of life. Teammates and fellow fans develop a connection that bonds them for life through competing or spectating.
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