In Africa’s largest urban slum Kibera in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, a football team is defying all odds of success. The Kibera Black Stars have won three championship titles and are now preparing to join Kenya’s second division league, a huge feat for a club with limited resources.
Henry Eshiboko is a left winger for the club which he has been playing for since he was very young, but just like his teammates, he never imagined that one day he could live off his passion.
He says: “Football is my job, that’s what makes me live. I can help my parents with football, that’s all for me, because I can support my family but also help my mother and father. “
More than half of the population of Kibera is unemployed and most of the residents live in extreme poverty. Many here survive on less than one dollar a day, but thanks to match bonuses that can go up to USD 23, Henry considers himself privileged.
“I’m lucky because here in Kibera every day there are people who can not eat, some do not even have a shilling, and they have to survive like that. I’m lucky, I can say I’m lucky,“he says.
While Kibera is mostly known for crime, drug trafficking and poverty, the Black Stars have managed to change the image of the slum and for many the team is a model of success, and an inspiration for the younger generations.
Esan Karani, the team captain says: “I am proud because we are now a symbol for people. Because Kibera often has a negative image, so we try to bring light and positivity to this place where we live. And that’s just playing football and winning our matches. “
Their success has however met a lot of challenges, mostly financial. But thanks to various sponsors, the club has been able to get half the money it needs for match trips across the country, and secure a new home ground.Follow @Muisyo_