Thursday, April 7, 2011

Lose the Shoes, reprise

Group shot with the top four teams. A couple kids
from Stepping Stones woven in.
In a word, it was amazing. In true Botswana style, many things happened at the very last minute, and I was very nervous that everything was going to fall apart but somehow it worked out. The morning of, when we first got to field at 7 in the morning the gate was already open (which hadn't been a guarantee) and a crew from Standard Chartered was already setting up gazebos and flags and banners and tables and chairs. So it was off to a good start.

Advertising banner on campus
I ended up having to run around with one of our directors all morning buying meat for the braai, buns for the meat, ice for the coolers, charcoal for the braai and water for the players. The cool thing was that we got the meat and the water at half price thanks to the generous support of the The Butcher Shop (subsidized sausages) in G-West Industrial and Moghul Catering (subsidized water), which is the company that runs one of the refectories on campus.

I got back just in time for the games to start. The other student volunteers were doing a great job registering teams and distributing t-shirts and fresh watermelon that fellow exchange students had selflessly sliced and pack for us the night before. We had 17 total teams register! Although we were ready to handle 32, 17 was more than we could have hoped for, after we only had 7 or 8 that had pre-registered.

Organizing committee joined by a German
participant (in white) and a rep from Standard
Chartered (in the glasses)
A student DJ was playing the whole time and he had two cordless mics that were incredibly handy. Kids from Stepping Stones (the NGO receiving the proceeds) were there and we introduced them to everyone. Once the players realized who the kids were they started mingling and kicking balls around in the free space. We had raffle drawings in between every round of games and we let the kids pick out the winning names. We took a break halfway through the day and six of the kids got to play a 3-a-side game on the main field while all of the players and volunteers cheered them on.

The champions! The blue shirts are the prizes they won
The sun started to come out part way through the day, which brought on the sweat, but also the smiles from the players. Everyone kept saying they were having such a good time and everyone was obsessed with the raffles - Standard Chartered Bank supplied nice Liverpool polo shirts and t-shirts and mini soccer balls and caps. It was really cool.

We sold sausages at P7 (to undercut the vendors’ price of P10 at the North Gate) and they were a hit. We sold over 100 of them.

Eventually we got down the championship game and it was pretty exciting. The eventual runner-up scored first, but the other team came back with 3 unanswered goals. They were great sports throughout.

We publicly thanked Standard Chartered for making it all possible and one of their representatives got to award the winning team their UB soccer jerseys (retail value of P200) which were donated free of charge from the UB souvenir shop.

Overall it was a real success and not a day soon to be forgotten.

More pictures to come! And let me know if you have any questions about the tournament - I'm sure there's things I forgot and I would love to talk more about it.

Don't even remember what I had for dinner - I couldn't stop thinking about how much fun the day had been...


  1. Hi Mike! It sounds like your soccer tournament was a huge success. What a gift of your time and talents for the youth there! Having fun and raising money for a good cause ~ what a great mix! Is this the first time the people there have been able to participate in an organized tournament? Rich and I enjoyed your recap of the event and the pictures. Looking forward to seeing more! Sending our love, Rich and Kathy

  2. Hi Mike... from us 2 down under gals. Great job, loved the account of Ms Mamba who was unable to keep herself off the field although injured. Sounds like so many people were involved and had such a great time. Good job to all the ones that helped, always invaluable. Looking forward to seeing you and sharing stories!