In a dusky afternoon, both captains stood either side of Flory Kazingufu, impatiently awaiting his sign to kick off. Over a month sixteen teams of boys from different tribes across eastern Congo came together to play for the glory of being the first ever champions of Soccer for Peace.
Moments earlier, the two captains had team talks with their new teammates. They had never played together, as just before kick off they had decided to swap players, so they could play with boys from other tribes.
From the sidelines, local supporters, police and religious leaders from diverse tribes drowned out Flory’s starting whistle as they cheered and shouted for their new teams.
After a tense and exciting final, the Soccer for Peace trophy was proudly and graciously accepted by the captain of Amani football club. In the spirit of the tournament, he shared the winning prize with the other finalists.
The Soccer for Peace tournament was the first of its kind in Kiliba. It was a huge success that saw mass participation from players, supporters and officials across ethic and tribal divides. Tribe leaders came down to watch the awards ceremony, and Flory described the “joy and celebration from the village following the end of the tournament.”
The month-long event has been so much more than just a football tournament – it has brought people together in Kiliba. Father Peter, a catholic priest who joined in the prize giving ceremony, said that “tears of hatred have been replaced by tears of joy on the faces of the villagers of Kiliba.”
This football tournament has helped to bring the communities of Kiliba to come together and renew their friendship. Flory hopes that it will be the first of many, and on his behalf we would like to thank all the support that you have given to make this special event possible.