Uganda, the pearl of Africa, was the team’s third experience in the continent and was a milestone in the team’s history. Why? Because it was there that we met Victor Ochen, one of the leading activists in Africa. He was the first Ugandan and the youngest-ever African candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. He is currently the United Nations Ambassador for Global Projects. After a childhood marred by war, becoming a child soldier himself, in 2005 he set up the NGO African Youth Initiative Network. Fifteen years later, Ochen is working to make young people become agents of peace.
Fascinated by the solidary work we had been developing in Africa, Ochen honoured us by declaring usambassadors of the challenge that he is promoting inside the United Nations through his association called Peace, Justice and Security Foundation. This foundation is in charge of promoting peace and social inclusion forsustainable development, making it possible to gain access to justice and to build inclusive and responsible institutions thatare effective at all levels.
Our opponent was against Kampala Capital City Authority FC, champion of the Ugandan Football League in 2013 and 2014. The match was played at the Nelson Mandela Olympic Stadium, which hasa capacity for 45,000 spectators. The result was 2-0 to the locals. Unluckily, just2 hours after the match,Uganda’s U-21 team was due to play against Rwanda, and the African Football Federation declares that for safety reasons, no match can be played in the same stadium two hours before an official one.
The memorable moment was when we gave our fellow players and managers some roses and books, as the match was to be played on 23rd of April, Sant George’s Day. We did not want to forget one of our country’smost beautiful traditions, bearing in mind that we were thousands of kilometres away from home. For this reason, we thought that it would be a good idea to express traditional Catalan culture through a symbolic act of handing over roses and books.
The match ended with a victory for Kampala Capital City Authority FC, but we thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
The welcome we received from the media and from our rival’s supporters was incredible. The day after our arrival at Uganda’s capital city, a press conference with local media was held to present the match.
The atmosphere on the streets was one of madness. People stopped us, asking for autographs and pictures, and they sang and danced in our honour.
This was a record-breaking trip! Our expeditions to Africa are becoming increasingly well-known. As a result, the Vallès region is throwing itself into the initiative. Thanks to the generous support of many people and businesses, we were able to fly to one of the poorest countries in the world with 600 kilos of sports and school equipment and more than €1,500.
Part of the sports equipment was given to the Kampala Capital City Authority FC youth academy for training their promising young players.
The rest was given to two schools in the country. One of them is for deaf and mute children, where they learn sign language. The other one is a school for orphans, where we were welcomed by an acapella singing of the Ugandan national anthem. We played with the children in both schools, were shown around its facilities and we shared some great moments with all of them.
Special mention should be made of our visit to the NGO Petits Detalls, a non-profit association that promotes humanitarian aid projects and international cooperation in Uganda. With them, we visited one of the two major projects that are being carried out by its founder, Quico Germain, who is only 20 years old: Mupenzi, an orphanage that is home to 40 children agedthree and over, who used to live in conditions that were unfit for people, and who nowadays, thanks to the help and hard work of everybody, can enjoy a worthy and fair life. They receive an education, are fed, receive medical care and, most importantly, they will be able to decide their own future.
Do you want to see what our players experience do on their trip to Ethiopia? VOTV has made this moving documentary about the adventure. Enjoy!