On Wednesday, June 12th, U-Tena joined Ruben FM for an afternoon of friendly competition on the football field. Ruben FM is a community radio station, which, like U-tena, works in the Mukuru slum of Nairobi county, empowering youth through entertainment and information. The match was held at the Ruben Center campus, with many of the school children lined up to watch the excitement.
The game commenced shortly after 4:00 pm in the afternoon, and both teams lined up for the coin toss -- Utena in green jerseys and Ruben FM in yellow. The first half did not go so well for U-tena, and halftime found the score at 2 to 0 with Ruben FM in the lead. One of the stand-out players for U-tena was Winnie Ochieng (pictured below): the sole female player in the entire match.
At halftime, the U-tena players met at the side of the field and listened to words of encouragement and motivation from their teammates. They entered the second half of the match still down in points, but with a renewed determination.
Shortly into the third quarter, this motivation led to the first goal scored by U-tena’s team captain, Jonathan. This was soon followed by another goal which tied the match 2 to 2. The tie, however, did not last long, and Utena soon pulled ahead 3 to 2. Then 4 to 2, and the match ultimately ended with U-tena winning 6 to 2.
Standout players in the second half included: Number 4, Derik, who was an instrumental part of the defenses, and Jonah, who was a key striker. Not to be forgotten was the rest of U-tena members (off the field) who played a crucial role as the cheer squad, spurring the players to victory.
At the end of the match both teams sat down together, exhausted from a well-played game. With the competition now complete, the two teams discussed the opportunity for further collaboration. Both organizations plan to work together on projects to raise awareness about non-communicable diseases among the youth in Makuru. One of these projects will be organizing a football tournament for youth in the community. As the sun set over a now empty field, the players left wearied, but excited by the prospect of future partnerships.