Football Is What Kept Us Alive – An Interview With South B United’s Coach John Mandela

Football Is What Kept Us Alive – An Interview With South B United’s coach John Mandela

When it comes down to sports, many get into them because of passion and talent, for South B United, it kept them away from drugs and crime.

Coming from a place where you have to do anything to survive, most young people will find themselves engaged in doing drugs and being involved in crime related activities just to get by. Here’s where John Mandela, founder of South B united saw it fit to start the team to have the kids focused on football rather than in other destructive activities. Today, South B United is one of the fastest growing football teams in Kenya and has talent like Enock Wanyama, attacking mid fielder and Chapa Dimba’s season 2 Nairobi region MVP and All-star player and Hussein Bhakari, Full back and Chapa Dimba’s season 2 top defenders.

Football Is What Kept Us Alive – An Interview With South B United’s coach John Mandela
South B United players celebrate their win with the Safaricom Chapa Dimba trophy held at Goan Institute in April this year, South B United won 2-1.

A football talent hub

South B United starts developing football talent from the tender age 5 to 19. They currently have over 273 kids all playing football. Every year they look for different ways of developing talent and this year they started a fully fledge girls football academy from 9,11 and 13 years; the girls who inspired this idea are now 16 years and as part of the progress they’ll also have a girls team participating in this season of Chapa Dimba na Safaricom

Sports for them is all about community, it’s what has changed their community according to their coach John Mandela. He says that since hanging up his boots as a player to become a coach, he’s seen a lot of change in the place he calls home and he thanks Safaricom for noticing the gap in the football community in Kenya and trying to fix that gap with the Chapa Dimba na Safaricom initiative

Football Is What Kept Us Alive – An Interview With South B United’s coach John Mandela
Enock Wanyama of Chapa Dimba All-Stars (in White) and South B United controls of the ball against Sant Gabriel of Spain players during a friendly match at Complex Esportiu Marina Besos grounds – Barcelona.

By any means necessary 

In a country that’s still trying to fully appreciate its sportsmen and women, it’s hard to find people who are fully appreciated unless they have supporting brands/managements behind them. But with South B United, football means more to them. Even with no sponsors backing them financially (yet), they’re still able to get kits and boots from donations from the community; a community that believes in what they do. 3 years ago, they even managed to travel to Sweden. What’s most interesting about this is that just when they were about to give up, they got a call on a Saturday from the embassy and had their visas processed on a Saturday to travel on the same night, something that rarely happens.

For John, this is a dream he won’t stop fighting for.

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