Coaching the coaches in Kibera does have its own unique set of challenges. The territorial baboons who have the propensity for acquiring anything colourful or edible on or off field soon becomes an irritation. A chance face to face encounter with a full sized adult wild warthog had recklessly been left of the risk assessment.
The long term consequences of the soccer academy were always difficult to predict. Started locally as a distraction for the ever growing lads appetites away from children’s feeding programme, at the first meeting they did not even possess a single football. The concept of coaching the coaches was originally to up-skill the many individual coaches scattered across the vast slum of Kibera and to harness the love for the beautiful game which offered so much to so many but disappointed the majority.
Mark Tizoli (Coach to the Kibera Saints and Kibera resident) writes:-
“Before the training of the coaches began, there was no unity among coaches. As a result even players from different teams saw each other as enemies and this was carried from the fields to the community/streets. You could find players abusing, stealing, or even fighting their fellow players from other teams or schools because this is what most coaches displayed. Due to this, most parents discouraged their children from having anything to do with football or even having friends who are footballers.
When the coaches training began early last year, things began to take another direction thereafter. It first brought us together then made us to start reasoning together. During training, coaches are encouraged to come up with their own drills and coach others. This has brought respect amongst ourselves and has also made us to begin appreciating each other. Unlike before, where you could hear a coach asking another during or after their matches: “You; what do you know?”, “What could you tell me?” & “There ‘s nothing that you can show me!”
“After being taught that players have got different ways of learning (visual, audio & demonstration (doing)) and that they learn at different times, it has lead more coaches to be more patient with their players whether they are winning or losing. Some coaches used to insult or even beat their players when they do a mistake during a match or even lose but now that has reduced as the coaches who come for the training hardly do it and we even discourage coaches who do that.”