Posing in his football shirt and holding a small, tatty rubber band ball, the star of this photo takes a break from lessons to play a little footie with his friends. Ever the posers, these boys loved showing us their skills during our visit to The United Nations Millennium Village Project in Malawi.
This scene offers a glimpse of the country’s love for football, which is especially pronounced in its children. While Manchester United appear to be one of the favourite clubs, this young striker proudly displays the colours of Barcelona FC and will surely be over the moon that his team were crowned UEFA Cup champions yesterday!
Across Africa, a patch of dusty grass left uncultivated for the great village games of football is a common rural scene. Small huts often tune in for the big games and children can be seen scuffling for prize position to watch through the gaps in the walls, trying to catch a glimpse of their heroes. When we were first travelling in Africa we could always find common ground by talking about the premier league and even I – not a supporter at all (!) – found I had to back a team and to banter with the locals as to who was going to beat who.
In Malawi it doesn’t stop at football, as the girls refuse to be left out. Next to each small football pitch is usually a group of gaggling girls playing an equally passionate game of netball.
The United Nations Millennium Villages Project aims to create a unique ecotourism program that lets visitors experience firsthand how the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDG) are being implemented in a rural community setting in Africa. The Responsible Safari Company offers valuable support to this project throughout Malawi. You can find out more in the project profile which was featured on the Travel Word last year.