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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Football Just Got Sweeter in Mathare Slums

Ever been involved in a compelling football training session that runs deep into late evening and you feel like you don’t want to stop because you just can’t get enough?

Well, that happens. Be it in the sandy beaches in Sao Paulo Brazil or the grayish corners of a street in Nairobi, football runs deep.

Little wonder then it was all smiles in Mathare recently when the area which is more often than not on the news for not so good reasons became part of history – it opened its doors to the world’s first ever LED solar lit pitch.

The initiative undertaken by Philips and world famous Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) saw the firm install solar lit floodlights on a full 7,000 square meter football pitch, the very first of its kind in the world.

The 3-killowat-powered floodlit pitch brought unprecedented relief to the residents of that area who are famed football enthusiasts but who can’t train or play late into the evening due to darkness that in hindsight compromises the security situation in the area.

That has now changed after the lighting project that makes the grassless pitch look enviable and inviting. So much so that some select teams from around the area, the home to MYSA football academy, got the first taste of football under the floodlights.

It was riveting, entertaining, classic, almost implausible for the participants.

In attendance were Philips East Africa Lighting General Manager, Mary Kuria and her boss Roelof Assies, KNVB International Projects Coordinator Johan Van Gegn and Kenya Premier League CEO Jack Oguda who all reveled at the environmentally friendly spectacle.

Kenya@50 Executive Director Saima Ondimu also graced the occasion alongside former Harambee Stars manager and current Tusker FC manager, Francis Kimanzi.

The initiative came at the back of a similar exercise which was done last year around the same area but which covered approximately 1000m2 or the size of a small football pitch.

Philips is currently installing more than a hundred “Philips Community Light Centers” across Africa. The company has already set up 8 in Kenya and are targeting to do at least 19 centers by next year.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!