Saturday, September 10, 2011

Unknown heroes

Change starts with you…

Everybody has a story to tell and all the challenges that befall on us, build a person to be stronger and better in life. Living in the slums hasn’t been so exciting, for example there is a lot that is left undesired like open sewage engulfing the air, unstructured houses with dilapidated roads that ‘snakes’ its way to a maze of shanty busy narrow streets full of businesses, just to mention but a few. Notably there has been progress in some areas but a lot still needs to be done and everything happens for a reason. There is always two sides of the coin in a story, hence it depends with how you want to view your surroundings and relate to the stories that meander across the streets.

On the other hand there are two ways to view a half-empty cookie jar: "half-empty" or "half-full." Today I want to share with you great story that is untold but it is right at our door steps from the heart of one of the biggest slums in Nairobi. Something I love about the slums is the zealous and joyful people and talents you find in the slums from musician, great footballers, lawyers, designers etc. It is very unfortunate that some of the talents and youth potential are not recognized from the slum areas and the hope of succeeding looks like a fainting lamp that doesn’t have paraffin. I would urge the youth to be pro-activate in lighting up their candles that would help them see through the dark tunnels of opportunities and challenges. Don’t despairs or have faint hearts thus remember you have to be very determined in whatever you do either in sport, academics etc; just know that nothing will come on a silver platter either you are a boy or a girl.
There is this story of one girl who has beaten all odds to educate herself through participating in community development while she uses her sporting talent in football to reach her stars. Kenya is well known in athletics and we performed exceptionally well in the just concluded IAAF world champions in Daegu in South Korea whereby Kenya was well represented by both men and women.

Our national team Harambee stars also made us proud by winning 2-1 to Guinea Bissau with much anticipation hangs in the balance to qualify for African cup of nation if only they can win against Uganda and Angola, though a bit of mathematics need s to be done, I don’t want to sound like a pessimist but I’m very positive that anything can happen in a game of football.
On the other flipside of the story from the slums of Mathare lives this unsung hero who comes from a humble background trying to make both ends meet through using her talent in football which in a man’s dominated sport in Kenya, though some women’s initiatives has been seen coming up buts still not enough to make our Kenya women footballers turn professional.

Kate Syprine aka Blacdiva born on 26th November 1991, lives with her family of eight children in Mathare slum and from a tender age she loved football with passion which she acquired from her family linage whereby her father used to play football , and currently two of her sisters Evaline Akida and Esther Mazira are both playing football and her brother Kamuzi Banda who has featured in Mathare united youth teams and also AFC leopard a premier league club in Kenya still plays football after coming from a career threatening injury while playing football match 2 years back.

Defeating all odds Kate Syprine has shaped her life and career path through sports despite many obstacles that surrounds the girls child in sprawling slum of Mathare which poses challenges like early pregnancy, lack of opportunities, drug abuse just to mention but a few. Currently she is the Mathare united women football team captain whereby she helped her team clinch the 2011 Sakata ball challenge cup winning a trophy and other rewards.
Thanks to Safaricom for supporting young talents in sports especially through their Sakata ball initiative (

Part of Kate Syprine aka Blacdiva other achievement has been as follows;

Player profile.

Position: Central defender
Football Icon: Rio Ferdinand (Manchester united)
Best book: An enemy of the people
Best quote: Aspire to inspire before you expire.
Community club MYSA zonal: Otto- Benecker F.C
Former school: Maina Wanjigi Secondary school since 2006 - 2010
Current professional club: Mathare United women team

Special achievements

• 2011 Champions Safaricom Sakata ball challenge tournament and current team captain
• 2010 Champions Women’s Kenya premier league
• 2007 Champions MYSA U16 championship
• 2007 Champions MYSA girls tournament
• 2006 Champions MYSA girls tournament
• 2005 First runners up Barclay girl’s tournaments.
• 2004 Champions MYSA girls tournament
International achievements

• 2007 first runners –up MYSA international girls tournament
• 2005 Finalist Norway cup u14 girls category in Oslo, Norway
• 2005 Winners u14 girls Netherlands tournament in the Netherlands.
• 2005 and 2006 East African cup winners U16 girls held in Tanzania.

This is such a great profile for an aspiring professional footballer especially a lady coming from Kenya. Currently Kenya stands to have maybe one or not more than two women playing professional football, even though quite a number of ladies are on football scholarships in the USA.

I f you are inspired and would like Kate featured in one of the top women clubs or even get a football scholarship please forward this article to friends, football recruiting colleges etc. It will be so unfortunate if this dream is lost on the way, if Kate manages to get a scholarship or professional football contract she would be a great motivator and inspiration to many girls who think there isn’t hope at the end of the tunnel despite all that they go through. Initiative like Sakata ball challenge by Safaricom and Barclay girls tournament are a great deal when it come to CSR ( Corporate Social Responsibility) initiative I would urge corporate to join the band wagon and support community development through sports etc.

Note: MYSA stands for Mathare Sports Association

Kate Syprine can be reached through wilson.masaka[at]


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