Barry Silah @obel_barry
They play and have fun with the ball just like the rest. For them, football is a passion. Football for the Deaf might not be a new concept in the developed countries but in Africa, it is still struggling for recognition.
However, Deaf Footballers Association of Kenya (DFA-K) has been on a spirited drive to ensure the standards are high in the country with some degree of success.
Twenty-three-year-old Ismail Ahmed Mohammed is one of those success stories and he too wants to shine against the odds.
The North Eastern FC striker from Garissa County revels in scoring goals but knows exactly what needs to be done for people of his kind to get better.
“It does not mean being deaf we cannot do things. As a footballer, I can take instructions and implement them in the game. We only need government through Ministry of Sports to give us more recognition through facilitation of tournaments and training,” he says.
Mohammed represents a growing number of deaf players who are hoping to be selected to Team Kenya for the forthcoming Africa Cup of Deaf Championships slated for November following a good showing at the National Deaf Championships in Nairobi.
DFA-K secretary general Georgina Auma believes the sport can win Kenya several medals in various tournaments if well taken care of.
“Despite being registered with the Ministry of Sports, we do not feel much appreciated. Most of the time, we have to beg for activities which is rather unfair.
There are no league structures but with our partnership with Football Kenya Federation, some doors are beginning to open which is timely for players who need such opportunities to develop,” said Auma, who is also a coach and footballer based in Nakuru.