Mustafa Ali, a 17-year-old school drop out slaloms through a packed defence to score a wonder goal in front of jubiliating fans who have nicknamed him Mahrez after Manchester City and Algeria star.
Under scotching conditions at the dusty Desa Grounds in Carlifonia estate, in Nairobi, Ali led his side Monaco FC to a resounding win against Star Socca in a match used to sensitise against drug use and abuse that is predominant in the area and its environs. Speaking to People Sport, Ali admitted that many youths around Carlifonia are into drugs.
“It’s a serious issue here. But we welcome this initiative because we started coming together about three months ago to engage in sports, more youths are now finding solace in playing football during their free time,” he said as his team prepares for a major tournament scheduled for the same venue on July 27.
Through the Change Fora Society, some of the 100 youths in the programme have started to sensitise other young men and women about drugs by staging small football tournaments in the informal settlements.
University of Nairobi business student Faiza Hassan, who is the founder of the initiative said sports has proven to be the best platform to address idleness and drug use in youth.
“We started this initiative to try and get the youths out of drugs. It’s sad that many of them have dropped out of school for various reasons, but through this programme we are hopeful to change lives and give the youths a chance in life,” she said.
Faiza said the longer plan for the programme was to start rehabilitating the youths, after succeeding to attract as many as possible using football.
“We have programmes tailored to offer the rehabilitated youth entrepreneurial skills, so that they can start eking out a living. In the process, they will stop taking drugs and engaging in crime. This situation is dire, and it’s only through sports that we can get them,” she said.