It all started with the message "the local Kenyans and schoolchildren love football, but they need assistance and help with the organization and management, thus we are looking for foreign interventions which has the ambition and knowledge to take the expertise to Kenya”
When I started calling and meeting with representatives from Cheptigit and Kaptagat (which is located close to Eldoret), I could immediately see the valuable possibility for a sports intervention at the Cheptigit school. The facility’s enabled an abundant opportunity for building a sports field including soccer, basketball, tennis, handball etc. where everybody could meet and train, compete and practice skills in a diverse range of sports.
As you can see above, the playing ground was huge and enabling lots of opportunities.
After conducting and talking with the board from the voluntary union “Cheptigit School” runned by Danish couple Kis and Flemming, the board was able of raising some money for my ideas to be but into life.
Then we went to work and established meetings with the locals and brainstormed about their ideas and needs for the coming sports facility.
From here we made a plan of establishing:
- one or two football pitches
- one volleyball pitch
- one netball pitch
- one hockey pitch
- one handball pitch
- one basketball pitch
- three street pitches for soccer, basketball and hockey.
In the video below you can see some of the final product, of the new and re-establish Cheptigit Ground:
The following trends were a steadily increasing dedication to sports, especially football, from the local Kenyans. This meant that more and more people showed up for training, both young people and seniors, with the majority of men, but with a greater and greater attendance from the women. This developed, on the initiative of the locals, that the women were eventually enough to practice for themselves, while the men had almost enough players to gather a 1st and 2nd team.
Cheptigit was calmly hit by football euphoria.
While I was in Tanzania, on my way up Kilimanjaro's 5.9 km high mountain, Cheptigit won the final in the local soccer tournament. The victory became a reality after an intense penalty shootout against the team of Kipsinende. Almost 7-800 local Kenyans made their way to spectate the final
After the win, Carolyn Williams could tell about the Cheptigit players, followed by the local football fans, who were singing in droves, celebrating, walking past the "job center".
After the finals we took this team photo of the players, the staff and coaches and me (HINT: I'm the white mzungu).
Photos and design by Ynjaart
The following weeks, a new soccer tournament was launched. This time with between 15-20 participating teams, against the previous 10 participating teams. The new tournament included both a men's and a ladies' series. This meant that the Cheptigit women could also compete. The tournament was now to be run on the new Cheptigit Ground. I witnessed the nerve-wrecking semi-finals. Cheptigit's women beat Kiluka by 4-0, while the Cheptigit men's team once again drew the longest straw in a penalty shoot-out. This time Strobag was sent out of the tournament. All around the one-hundred-foot-long football field, the attendance of 5-600 spectators stood and cheered - which was a fantastic sight when Cheptigit's goalkeeper, Kibit, saved the crucial penalty.
The men's final should now be swept between Cheptigit and Kipsinende, while the women's final also stood between Cheptigit and Kipsinende. In the men's final, Kipsinende was set for revenge and they also managed to defeat a slightly amputated and injured Cheptigit team with the digits 2-1. In the women, the outcome was likewise, where a somewhat stronger Kipsinende team clearly took the victory.