Football: Chance to play football for Kenyans affected with dwarfism
Kenyans affected by dwarfism will now have a chance to showcase their soccer talent as the newly formed Lions stars football team gets ready for USA in June 2018.
Speaking exclusively to Gameyetu on Wednesday morning at Nairobi city stadium, Philip Dawood the national secretary general of Short Stature Society of Kenya (SSSK) was optimistic.
“SSSK got an invitation to attend a conference that will also culminate to an athletic event in Florida this year. Since 2013 we have been getting these invitations but we haven’t attended any, so we formed a football and badminton team last month so that we can be able to actively participate in the conference,” said the 47 year old Dawood who also doubles up as a midfielder in the team.
The lion stars football team is currently training at Nairobi city stadium once a week in preparation for a residential camp in April. The team scheduled to fly out to Florida will have 12 players and three officials.
“We are currently training and playing friendly matches here in Nairobi and outside Nairobi. I am also scouting many other players especially from the rural areas so we can be fair to everyone and get a good team. SSSK has other branches in seven other counties, so we are hoping to get these players to our camp and select the best,” said Emmanuel ‘Aguero’ Karani, the also Nairobi County fc defender.
Little People of America, an organization that caters for people with dwarfism organizes a summer global annual conference event that involves athletics. Through the Dwarf Athletics Association of America, Kenya has been invited severally but has failed to form a team since 2013.
The Lion’s Stars football team currently has 37 year old James Gacheru as goalkeeper. Defenders are 27 year old Joseph ‘sonko’ Maina who is also the captain, 18 year old Permines ‘Ozil’ Nzau and 23 year old George ‘pogba’ kariuki.
Midfielders are 47 year old Philip Dawood, 27 year old Jackson Mwangi, 26 year old Jeremiah Maringa, 35 year old Joseph ‘makofi’ Mwathe. There is only one striker, 21 year old Fredrick Mulinge.
SSSK president Ruth Mueni and Philip Dawood are currently doing everything possible to make sure that persons affected with dwarfism in Kenya are not only recognized, but also exposed to opportunities. All eyes are now on the government and the counties to see how well persons with disabilities will get support so that they can come out from the shells of stigma and cowardness.