Blues stars immerse themselves in Tanzania community

Thursday, 13 July, 2017 24comments  |  Jump to most recent

After touching down on the tarmac in Tanzania, a host of Everton first-team stars journeyed across Dar-es-Salaam with representatives from the Club's Main Partner, gaming giant SportPesa, to find out more about the East African country, its cultures and some of its community outreach work.

Blues quartet Leighton Baines, Yannick Bolasie, Idrissa Gana Gueye and Ademola Lookman visited Uhuru Mchanganyiko Primary School to find out more about how UK aid is ensuring deaf and blind students receive the same level of education as their classmates. The players saw first-hand how teacher training and specialist equipment, provided by UK aid and delivered by British charity Sense International, is being used to increase the learning opportunities available to deaf and blind students.

To gain a better understanding of what life is like for the estimate 18,400 deafblind children in Tanzania, the Everton stars were blindfolded themselves and wore ear plugs before having to try and locate objects in a padded room. They then took part in a competitive game of Goalball, a version of football designed specifically for blind individuals – which involves using a ball with a bell inside it.

Speaking after the visit, fans favourite Baines said: “All of us at Everton think school is really important and it's fantastic to see UK aid helping these kids in Tanzania to get a better education.

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“Every child should have the opportunity to learn and hope for a better future, and whether it's football or goalball, sport is a great way to learn the vital life skill of working together as a team.”

Between 2013-2020, the Department for International Development is investing £140million in education in Tanzania, with a specific focus on improving the quality of education for girls and children with disabilities. As a direct result of these efforts, more than half a million Tanzanian children are expected to receive an education.

Meanwhile, back at the team hotel, two teams of Everton stars squared off against each other in a cooking challenge as they attempted to recreate two local dishes whilst understanding more about Tanzania's culinary delights.

Phil Jagielka and Dominic Calvert-Lewin were pitted against Davy Klaassen and Matty Pennington in a contest that tested their cookery skills. Jags and Dom prepared white snapper with ugali, a maize porridge, while Davy and Matty were asked to cook ndizi-nyama – plantain with meat.

Assisted by Niko, the head chef of the Sea Cliff Hotel, the two teams both created delicious dishes that were then sampled by Blues ambassador Graham Stuart who crowned Jags and Dom as winners.

On the other side of the bustling city of Dar-es-Salaam, new signing Michael Keane accompanied Mo Besic and Tom Davies to Uhuru Stadium to meet the coaches and players from a unique Tanzanian football team, Albino United FC and take part in a training session as well as finding out more about how Everton's Main Partner SportPesa work in Tanzania to support the albino community. In recent years, albinos have been murdered in Tanzania, some as young as six months old, while others have been attacked with machetes and their limbs cut off while alive.

Albino United FC was launched to show the world that albinos are like everyone else and they wanted to spread the message by example. Football not only offers exposure for albinos but is a rare tool to undermine the limitations imposed upon them as they travel into the heart of the areas with the highest numbers of albino killings.

During the activity, the Blues trio got involved in some passing drills and a small football session, found out more about the team's successes and the players individual backgrounds before presenting them with the new 2017/18 Everton away shirt, unveiled earlier this week.

New signing Michael Keane said: “From spending time with the Albino United team today, I have learnt that the players go through some tough times. It's not easy for them over here. It's good that they can enjoy football and look forward to playing together. You can see their coach is really good with them.

“I told them all to keep enjoying their football - that's advice you say to any football player, especially those who are younger.

Ronald Koeman's Everton side will become the first Premier League team to play in Tanzania when they take on SportPesa Super Cup champions Gor Mahia at the 60,000 capacity Tanzania National Main Stadium in Dar-es-Salaam on Thursday 13 July, 5pm kick-off local time (3pm kick-off BST).


Reader Comments (24)

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Tanvir Akram
1 Posted 13/07/2017 at 08:04:47
Brilliant work!
Dermot Byrne
2 Posted 13/07/2017 at 08:07:56
Seems a better way of spending time than annoying the neighbours is LA.
Eddie Dunn
3 Posted 13/07/2017 at 08:08:37
It's so nice of the big Gambling company to help the local community with it's outreach work.

A bunch of millionaire footballers cooking in a hotel and a some cursory visits to the unfortunates.

PR bollocks.

If Koeman moans about fitness levels when the season begins, we will all know why.

Dermot Byrne
4 Posted 13/07/2017 at 08:22:24
Wonder will the local fans be pleased to see a Premier League team play in their country? Wonder did the Albino team have a good day?

Can the club and the local people both benefit Eddie? In the end, all these pre season tours are PR.

Mike Green
5 Posted 13/07/2017 at 08:36:51
What's your view on Everton in the Community, Eddie? Is that PR bollocks too?

It would've been far easier for them to fly in, train behind closed doors, play and fuck off – would you have preferred that?

The other side of the coin is it doesn't just give the kids and team they meet a boost, a great memory and exposure (I wasn't aware of the albino story for instance); it reminds our lads that in the real world it's not all about Baby Bentleys, Twitter accounts and how big their "loyalty" bonus is going to be if they leave – and it'll probably help them get to know each other more as a team than any night out in the "dentists chair" too.

Sorry, I'm all for being cynical but there are limits.

James Morgan
6 Posted 13/07/2017 at 08:43:29
What joy it must be being around you, Eddie. Can't do right for doing wrong it seems.

I suppose when the players visit sick kids in hospital or when the likes of Naismith would help the homeless at Christmas, that's all PR bollocks too? Unbelievable.

Charlie Dixon
7 Posted 13/07/2017 at 08:55:29
What a load of bollocks you speak, Eddie. If you can point me to another Premier League Club who has genuine community work as part of their pre-season tour, then I'll eat my hat. Most importantly I'm sure the blind children and albino team wouldn't have considered it a PR exercise!

The Club are number one in the UK for their community work. I have a mate who works in the Arsenal Foundation (EitC equivalent). He constantly refers to Arsenal's ambition as becoming as good as Everton are in the local/national community.

John G Davies
8 Posted 13/07/2017 at 09:08:01
That's the spirit, Eddie.

Well done.

Steve Ferns
9 Posted 13/07/2017 at 09:30:00
I think we are doing this right.

Sunderland were sponsored by Invest in Africa or something similarly named. Did they go and do this?

We're sponsored by a company so there's no obligation on us. We could just take the money and run. Instead we're trying to build up a fan base over there, and not from wealthy fans.

It sounds to me like more influence from the amazing Denise Barrett-Baxendale who is doing some truly remarkable things in our name.

Steve Ferns
10 Posted 13/07/2017 at 09:36:45

It hasn't been reported elsewhere, so I'll mention it here. We've had our community efforts recognised by the Vatican and we are to attend a sports conference with the Pope. It seems we're the only football club invited.

More evidence of how we do things differently?

Eddie Dunn
11 Posted 13/07/2017 at 09:53:34
Mike Green,

I think EitC is a good thing. James, Did I mention Naisse visiting sick kids? No, you asked that and answered it yourself. Charlie – this tour is not part of our community work in Merseyside.

My point is simple. We are sponsored by a big "Gaming" Company that has been, along with others,opening lots of shops to entice the young male populace to bet on Premier League games (along with other matches). There have been lots of reports in the local press from concerned people who are worried about what this is doing to the vulnerable.

I posted an article about this when SportPesa became our sponsors. If you are really community minded you should do a bit of research into the background to this situation, before unloading your outrage on me. Just Google -"gambling problems in east Africa" ,and you will see what I'm on about.

Mark Batty
12 Posted 13/07/2017 at 10:38:49
Team bonding in a less privileged enviroment, great work.

Anyone know if it's possible to watch the friendly?

Tom Brown
13 Posted 13/07/2017 at 10:54:17
I'm in Tanzania for the match and have been here for about a week. I've spent most of my time amongst "normal" people.

Whilst I share some concern about being sponsored by a gambling company of any nationality (though I like a bet myself), I think the EFC visit to Dar es Salaam is on balance a very good thing.

I am no expert on Tanzania but I would say:

1. There is excitement in Tanzania about having a Premier League team visit. Everyone seems to know about it and be enthusiastic and seems to speak with pride about having the team here.

2. In "the West", some people may have become discouraged from visiting, investing in or working with African countries by some of the news stories in recent years including the global rise in fear of terrorism. By visiting Tanzania & PRing it, Everton can reassure people to invest etc. This can only be good for Africa.

Tony Dove
14 Posted 13/07/2017 at 12:20:23
If this is going to become a regular event, will it be called Bluenose Day?
Matthew Williams
16 Posted 13/07/2017 at 14:14:50
We've always been more than just a football club, good work by all concerned.

Now's the time the players on the pitch matched our superb community work.


Brian Cleveland
17 Posted 13/07/2017 at 14:52:32
Steve (10), thanks for pointing that article out. Whilst a born-again atheist myself I am still very much impressed with the fact that we have been invited to such a meeting with the Pope.

As I only really read about Everton, sometimes I have to question whether our social initiatives are any better than anyone else's or whether I only want to see it that way because it's my club. That article goes to show that the work is being recognised far beyond what I would have expected and must be something better than anyone else, so a congratulations to those involved in that.

And Eddie (#3): Who pissed on your Corn Flakes this morning?

Don Alexander
18 Posted 13/07/2017 at 15:08:59
I like the fact that the club has, to paraphrase the players, immersed them in a community way different to what they're used to. All the players are young men and broadening their horizons is a good thing that'll hopefully develop their strength of character in games to come.

As a bit of a side-issue, when England are usually cooped up together throughout any tournament they're invariably struggling in the successful countries, and especially Germany, prompt their players to get out of the hotel amongst the local community.

Alan J Thompson
19 Posted 13/07/2017 at 16:17:59
Don't see the point of going all that way to play a friendly game of football and not leave a lasting, friendly impression. So long as it doesn't extend to losing the match.
Jack Convery
20 Posted 13/07/2017 at 17:32:00
We are and always will be the People's Club.

If the Pope gives us a Silver Cup as recognition for EitC we will have to nip out for some Brasso. The previous bottle has rusted in the basement of the Main Stand and is sealed solid.

James Hughes
21 Posted 13/07/2017 at 17:35:13
Jack. No religion in football please, leave that to Glasgae and the wonderful sectarian utopia that is the 'old firm'.
Dermot Byrne
22 Posted 13/07/2017 at 17:44:53
Thanks, Tom. Seems on balance a good thing to have done. Good rather than totally in self-interest. My club... proud.
Jonathon Laws
23 Posted 14/07/2017 at 07:18:33
Regarding SportPesa, they are a mobile banking company before a betting one. In fact, I believe they are the biggest mobile banking company operating in Africa. Before the word 'bank' sets everyone off on an anticapitalism rant, it's worth noting that getting the poorer African demographic 'banked' is pretty critical to modernising their economy.

I also believe there was a UN project in Africa whereby mobile phones were traded to children for their guns. And to be fair, a gun is a sort of terrifying currency, taking it away is probably a good thing, but it certainly makes the poor poorer... Giving them (at least in theory) access to the internet and the possibility to set up a bank account takes the terrifying aspect away and keeps the currency. SportPesa has a very active role in this market.

But yes, I imagine it's relatively easy to link that mobile bank to one of SportPesa's gaming rings.

Mike Gaynes
24 Posted 15/07/2017 at 00:33:15
Eddie (#11), nice try at a recovery, and bravo for your concern about SportPesa's influence on East Africa, but that's not what your post #3 was about.

You spouted about "millionaire footballers" being hypocrites and risking their fitness for footy because they spent time on young people in Tanzania. You're worried about losing games because our players sought to help handicapped children and the most horribly persecuted and mutilated victims of the albino superstition.

That post was pure bollocks, mate... and Mike Green (#5) pegged it just right.

Stop whimpering about people "unloading their outrage on me"... that wasn't outrage, just a few kicks in the pants, and in my book you had 'em coming.

Will Mabon
25 Posted 15/07/2017 at 06:40:32
Truth is, there are many levels to the trip. It could be said some are all business, but there are also real people there interested in the team, and less fortunate people given a real lift by interacting with the players and the club. Space for cynicism or optimism, take your pick – a win for all!

The football element. This is only a gentle start to the process of building match fitness so not exactly pivotal.

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