Changing lives through football

Unlock Football Club are trying to nurture the dreams of young footballers, but they desperately need the help of a few Good Samaritans.

11 February 2019 | Sports

LIMBA MUPETAMI



It is no secret that youngsters enjoy playing football in the dusty streets of our country.

Football is the glue that holds communities together - an activity that helps youth find the right path for their lives.

It is where friendships are formed and is a space in which one can achieve something great, create memories, share special life moments and much more.

Most times players don't even have a proper ball to kick; it's either worn-out or made from old material patched together.

These players, whether male or female, in most cases have no means to buy boots, let alone bibs to play in.

This scenario is the same for Unlock Football Club, formed barely a month ago by football lover Pekka 'Bossa' Aibeb.

Aibeb is a resident of Okahandja Park, an informal settlement crowded with shacks on the outskirts of Windhoek. This is where he treads daily, hoping to change the lives of young men through football.

“I just want to do something positive in the community, so I started a club and informed whoever I met on the street to spread the word. Now we have close to 30 players training daily on the gravel field near where we live.

“These guys don't have boots or even shin guards, but they can surely play football with their old sneakers. We don't have bibs or a proper ball but it doesn't matter; we have started and that's all that counts.”

Aibeb said they have no cultural barriers in the team.

“It's a mixture of Ovaherero, Damara/Nama and Oshiwambo-speaking players. We are all one.

“I've learnt that sometimes we take things for granted, whereas the same things mean a great deal to others.

“From my experience, sports means a lot to young people, more importantly football, because it's not a very expensive sport,” Aibeb explained.

“If there is someone out there who would like to sponsor us with a ball or few cones, we will really appreciate it. We have erected makeshift posts and we use them because no matter where you find yourself, you have to make do with what you have.”

One of the players on the team, Marais Wimmert, narrated how bad life is for most young men. “There is nothing to do. Only a few of the guys attend school. Most of them are in grade 10, and some work, fortunately.

“Joining the club is a positive because it keeps one away from drinking and unnecessary activities. I know people will always shy away from assisting with balls and cones, but we really just want to do something good with our lives,” he said.

The team was scheduled to play a friendly match at the Wakaduku Field in Okahandja Park this past weekend against a team from the same location.

“It's a gravel field but we play for money. It's not a lot, around N$150 to N$300, but we are trying to save for the club. This way we can afford small necessities,” Wimmert explained.

The team trains weekly from 17:30 till late. Anyone interested in assisting the club with equipment can contact the Namibian Sun directly or Aibeb on 081 216 2794.

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