Slums Derby 2018 – the story of football, a weekend and 1,000 kids !

A weekend can be just two days of the week, but for more than 1,000 kids in Kampala, it’s much more than that. It’s life long memories, its fun and moments to take through life for much longer than just a Saturday and a Sunday.

The long awaited 6th edition of the annual Slums Derby soon arrived and it wasn’t going to pass for a normal one.

The organising team comprising of just over a dozen volunteers arrived at Kyambogo College School at around 8am, but not earlier than a couple of hundred kids. After doing some demarcation of the pitches, the ground was set, and the screening of the kids took centre stage for the next couple of hours.

The rains ushered us into the day but never dampened our spirits, not even for the hundreds of kids who were arriving in swarms. By 11am, the screening was done, teams fixtured and ready for the first games.

The first Football 4 WASH workshop was done on the toilet hygiene drill with focus on the proper steps of toileting using football as a teaching method. It was done in conjunction with Viva con Agua.

After all the registration, seeding and fixturing, we had altogether 67 teams in the boys’ U13s category. The first game kicked off at exactly 12noon. By the time the first whistle blew, over 1,000 kids had registered to take part in the 2018 Slums Derby.

These were to go on until lunch arrived at 3pm. Drinking water was also handed out to all the kids, courtesy of Viva con Agua.

During the lunch break, the second Football 4 WASH workshop was done. For us, this was the highlight of the whole event. It was special because it was conducted by five girls from Busega Primary School under the schools’ Football 4 WASH programme. It was interesting to see the girls claiming their space, instructing the boys and sharing vital health information through football. In the end, it was not just about football and WASH, but about young leaders, gender equality and learning all in one moment.

It was tougher on the pitch in the afternoon and evening hours as teams gave it their all to make it for the next round. At the end of the day, we had only 32 teams make it for the next round.

On Sunday, we started as early as we had left off. The volunteers crew arrived well in time to set the pitches and get everything ready for the day. The draws were then made for the round of 32, and the same was done for the round of 16s.

In the meantime, 9 girls’ teams arrived and were able to play all their group games after the boys’ round of 16s. This was the third girls’ edition of the Slums Derby.

It was equally exciting to see over hundred girls take part in the Slums Derby, playing and taking their fair share of the space they need to show that girls too can play, like the boys.

With the next rounds, we had the quarter finals and the semi finals in both categories. Tough contentions across all the games, we then had the stage set for the finals and it was Uganda Martyrs High School against Sparta 09 in the girls’ edition while in the boys U13s it was a repeat of the U13s finale from the Christmas Camp as Skills Soccer Academy came up against MSCASDA.

After an entertaining 30 minutes the score line stalled at 1-1. We were then headed for the spot kicks, and it was Uganda Martyrs that came out victors with a 6-5 victory against the 2016 champions.

In the boys’ category, it was tough and mouth watering as two equally strong sides faced off. But it was a repeat of the Christmas Camp finale as MSCASDA ran away 2-1 winners after a nerve biting end to the best game of the tournament.

In the end, it was a weekend to remember for the hundreds of boys and girls who turned up for the biggest football festival in Kampala. They played, had fun, food &drinking water, some got spotted, learnt through the Football 4 WASH workshops and met hundreds of mates.

We want to thank everyone who supported us through the 2018 Slums Derby. Everyone who donated to our fundraiser, everyone who donated otherwise. We are very grateful. Even when we had almost double the number of kids we anticipated, your support helped us through to a successful event. Thank you.

Thanks to Kyambogo College School who offered us the pitch and the venue, and to Coach Khasim for helping with all the logistics.

Thank you to the media houses, and to The Lens Foundation for covering the event.

Many thanks to volunteers who worked themselves off. Young and energetic, the sight of their fellow youths kept their passion high. Even when the numbers doubled, no one was chased away. Every boy/girl and every team was given a chance to play, to food and drinking water and to enjoy the weekend at the biggest Slums Derby ever.

For many more kids, to many more opportunities for purposeful play, and to change lives of slum kids through football – one game at a time!