I went out to unveil the street football in Nairobi and here is my report

The Street Footballers of Nairobi

Posted by | Posted on 22 May 2012

By Dennis Lubanga

It is around 4 pm on a sunny Friday afternoon at the Tom Mboya Statue in downtown Nairobi and people have gathered around to watch two young men who are busy in the Nairobi city streets showcasing their amazing football tricks.

A crowd looks on as Edward and Oscar perform (by Monica Wawira)

Meet Edward Moreno and Oscar Litonde who are in their mid twenties and live in Kasarani and Kawangware Estates in the outskirts of the city respectively.  The two young football jugglers are here to entertain city residents with their professional freestyle football.

Before they get down to business, Edward tells me that freestyle football is different from the pitch football as it includes juggling the ball in the air and sometimes balancing it in unique places such as the forehead or the neck.

‘‘The game has not gained popularity because the government is not doing enough to explore the talents of the youths,’’ laments Moreno.

They say that they began the profession almost four years ago taking to the streets to show case their skills.

The two have participated in corporate competitions like Safaricom Sakata Boli, the Guinness Football Challenge and even the Copa Coca Cola Football Tournament.  These competitions are sponsored by corporate organizations as part of their corporate social responsibility.

The two are however blaming Nairobi City Council askaris (security personnel) for being corrupt and harassing them as they extort bribes from them once they start performing in the streets.

Their talents earn them a living as street performers but why aren’t they on the pitch? (by Monica Wawira)

The duo is now calling upon the Kenyan Government to help the youths in exploring and promoting their talents in a bid to eradicate poverty.

“Politicians should stop using the youths and  should shun away from tribalism and ethnicity especially in this election period,” notes Litonde.

As they get down to show their football skills, a huge crowd surround the arena with the audience throwing money at them in a way to appreciate their work. The event goes on until the late hours of the evening when they finally depart to their respective homes.

 

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