Point FC colours now proudly sported on slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro

Boys from Mbahe primary school, in the Point FC strips. NO F36 Tanzania FC 01

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The colours of Hebridean football team Point FC can now be seen in action on the slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro after the community consultant for wind farm charity, Point and Sandwick Trust, brought them out to Africa.

Alasdair Nicholson was making the trip – postponed from March to August due to the coronavirus crisis – in a personal capacity but was pleased to bring the strips with him, which had become surplus to requirements after the Lewis-based trust had sponsored new ones, as a gift for the children of Mbahe primary school.

He also brought them footballs and pens, donated by the trust, and biology textbooks for the neighbouring Daranjani secondary school.

Alasdair has been making regular visits to this part of Africa since 2015, primarily to develop local skills in community enterprise. His trip this year renewed his contacts with Ndoro Cultural Tourism Enterprise, which is interested in hearing about the progress of community projects in the Outer Hebrides such as the Point and Sandwick Coastal Community Path, and also with the school, which had asked for the science resources during a previous visit.

The young players sporting their Point FC strips have some fun with new footballs. NO F36 Tanzania FC 02
The young players sporting their Point FC strips have some fun with new footballs.
NO F36 Tanzania FC 02

In an email from Africa, Alasdair described the response to his visit and the school’s situation: ‘Anita Moshe, the headmistress at the primary school, was very welcoming. The classrooms were clustered around on raised ground in ridges, with very rough rocky paths between. The only flat clear area was the sports field. Ndoro Cultural Tourism Enterprise took me there and we went to P7 who sang welcome songs.

‘With the class teacher, the junior Point strips, emblazoned with Gael Force Marine and Point FC branding, were handed out. The whole class, teachers and headmistress included, went immediately and joyfully to the playing area where three footballs donated by Point and Sandwick Trust were also handed over.

‘Those with whole strips and some with just shorts immediately put them on and the class split into two teams – those with the strips and others. The girls, not to be outdone, were given one of the footballs and were as enthusiastic as the boys. Not wishing those without strips to feel left out, the girls were first in line for a Point and Sandwick pen and all were happy.

Alasdair Nicholson with school pupils. NO F36 Tanzania FC 03
Alasdair Nicholson with school pupils.

‘The head said the school also needed many things – rubbers, pencils and rulers – and that if it were possible to help them with two laptops in the future that would help them enormously.

‘I said the football kit was a gift from the junior team from Point, in Scotland, and I had meant to deliver them in March but it had been impossible at that time. The donation was from them.

‘Biology texts were then donated to Daranjani Secondary School, on the slopes of Kilimanjaro, Northern Tanzania, and another welcome from the staff who previously had a small consignment last year. The science pupils gathered near the science huts and there was a welcome speech from the head girl and the biology master.’

Alasdair also brought biology textbooks for science classes in Daranjani secondary school. NO F36 Tanzania FC 05
Alasdair also brought biology textbooks for science classes in Daranjani secondary school.

And Alasdair added: ‘I advised the school they could be assured I was not coming with any unwelcome gifts from Europe, as I had been given a negative Covid test the evening before I travelled.’

Alasdair pictured with Daranjani secondary school headmistress, Mary MLay. NO F36 Tanzania FC 07
Alasdair pictured with Daranjani secondary school headmistress, Mary MLay.

Donald John MacSween, general manager of Point and Sandwick Trust, said the trust was delighted to have helped the youngsters by giving them footballs and pens and allowing the Point FC juniors to donate their old strips by sponsoring them with new ones.

‘In the great scheme of things, the cost of these donations is small but they have clearly brought a lot of happiness,’ he added.

‘As our community consultant, Alasdair does great work in supporting the projects that Point and Sandwick Trust is involved with and we are pleased to support him in his relationship with this part of Africa.

‘We might be miles apart, but our two communities clearly have a lot in common, from our interests in community enterprise to our love of a good kickabout with a ball.

‘The smiles on the faces of the youngsters is a joy to see. As many people know, our main mission is to boost environmental, educational, social and cultural wellbeing in the islands – but it’s good to spread a bit of happiness, too, whenever and wherever we can.’