The Other Stars of Football
by François Schaer
Located in the heart of Nairobi, Mathare is the name of one of the largest slums in Africa. Its one million inhabitants live shoulder to shoulder dreading the next rains that sweep through its narrow streets. It was supported by an increasingly famous organisation, MYSA (Mathare Youth and Sports Association) that had worked for 25 years since its founding with the objective: to bring a decent future to thousands of young people and, most notably, through the playing and training of football.
Being part of MYSA allows the young people to find a common identity that moves them away from violence, prostitution, alcoholism and drug addiction. All present in Mathare in 1987 but today, very much reduced. This embedded in the youth is a self-confidence yet care for others that is indispensable to promote sustainable development.
Out of all this came a professional football team Mathare FC that actually won the Kenya Premier League in 2008 and many of ex-MYSA players have risen to stardom through the Kenyan National Team, playing in many top clubs across Europe.