Zambia 5050 blog – football, friendship and the chance to pick an Olympic champion’s brain

19 August 2017

University of Bath student Jake Samuel is part of the organising team for the Zambia 5050 charity challenge, a fundraising campaign led by Olympian Mel Marshal and Olympic swimming champion Adam Peaty to create sporting opportunities for some of Africa’s poorest children.

Marshal and Peaty, along with their team, are undertaking ten hours of sport with children each day for five days at five different locations in the capital city of Lusaka and its surrounding communities with the aim of raising £50,000.

Samuel, who studies Sports & Social Sciences, is in Lusaka helping to deliver the logistics of the programme as part of the annual Volunteer Zambia project involving universities in the Wallace Group of UK Higher Education Institutions.

He is providing a daily blog from Zambia on the challenge, which continued today with a kickabout, a chance to pick the brain of an Olympic champion and an emotional evening…

Day 4 – Munali- football

After last night’s antics of the football pitch being moved, I was quite anxious waking up this morning about about the day would be affected. Anyway, these thoughts would only be settled when we got to the site at 7am but first was a quick bowl of corn flakes and a cup of tea, which is much needed. Once the bus was loaded with the kit and the people, we headed for Munali with the knowledge that it would a similar routine to the days before.

It turned out that the pitch change made no difference at all – in fact it probably made it a little better as the wind was definitely stronger than the previous day and the changing rooms provided a bit of a wind break – particularly useful when putting up the tents

Once the delegates had arrived they began a game of rondo while the children were putting on their kit for the day. We then began with a group warm-up, which was a massive success and looked very cool to watch. Once the skill development sessions had begun, I could take a breather and finally clear myself up as I’d had to mark out the pitch with some lime powder, which made me look like a ghost.

During my break I had a great chat to Adam Peaty about his life and how he prepares for races, which is a conversation I will never forget as it’s not every day you get to pick the brain of an Olympic Champion. The reason I had chance to speak to him was because he’d felt a niggle in his ankle and if I am responsible for sending Adam back home with a broken ankle, I will not be very popular among the swimming community!

The session went smoothly with the children enjoying themselves and hopefully learning from our peer leaders and our UK football coaches Jack, Mario (Cardiff Met student), Jon and Ali. Once we hit 12pm, I again had to get the lime powder out to remark the pitch, so again I got covered.

The games then followed the kit distribution, which the children seemed to love. The delegates during this session felt more comfortable to play amongst themselves, which left them happy, yet I don’t think they were too happy when we beat them in the volunteer vs delegates game!

During this time I was talking to another one of the delegates, Abbie, learning about her story and what her plans are, which was really interesting. I also got to play a game of rondo with some of the girls from the community around Munali and it was surprising how talented they were considering the opportunities they get are next to none.

The day ended at 6pm with the Fountain of Hope boys singing us songs and dancing with us, which was very emotional as I had made a real connection with the boys I had coached during the previous weeks. I have also made a real friendship in Steven, the Fountain of Hope site coordinator, which I will always cherish and be reminded of when I look at the bracelet he gave me. I hope he does the same with the University of Bath top I gave him.

It was a great end to the day and I just hope tomorrow brings more of the same.

Donations to Zambia 5050 can be made by texting MELZ17 £10 to 70070 or visiting www.theperfectdayfoundation.org.

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