African youngsters wear the Point football shirt with pride

Kiogosi FC in the old Point strips sponsored by Duncan Mackenzie Kitchen Centre
Kiogosi FC in the old Point strips sponsored by Duncan Mackenzie Kitchen Centre

Youngsters in Tanzania are now playing football in Point strips following a donation from the Point and Sandwick Trust.

The trust, who own the three-turbine wind farm Beinn Ghrideag on the outskirts of Stornoway, had donated a new set of strips to Point FC’s Under 18 team in June – strips which instantly brought them luck as they won the local Ladywell Cup on their first outing.

It was a donation that was also good news for young football players on the other side of the world, as the redundant strips were taken out to Africa by Alasdair Nicholson, who regularly goes to Tanzania to help develop local skills in community enterprise.

The first team, the ones who got the old Point ‘Rudhach’ strips, were the African Lions from Mahenge.

A barefoot Kiogosi player shows off his ball skills in his new Point top
A barefoot Kiogosi player shows off his ball skills in his new Point top

Alasdair said: “They were playing their nearest rivals and both teams were playing to get these shirts. They played very competitively, very entertainingly and in both cases some of them were playing in their bare feet because they didn’t have football shoes.

“When we started handing out the shirts to the team that won they immediately took off their existing kit and put on the Rudhach kit. They were obviously very pleased.”

The next team to benefit from the strips — Duncan Mackenzie Kitchen Centre ones, this time — were Kiogosi FC, from a village near Ifakara. Again they played “a competitive, combative game”, although they had been guaranteed the strips.

Alasdair said: “It’s not just the shirts. In a sense it’s saying to that community, ‘you’re important, you can do things yourself’. In that same community, I spent time in a workshop with them, responding to questions they had. In a sense the football was a way in but it wasn’t a thing by itself.”

Alasdair with a group of villagers in Mahenge
Alasdair with a group of villagers in Mahenge

 

Alasdair, who has 30 years experience of community development and social enterprise, said it was great to see how happy the young players were to receive their strips – and to have been able to fulfil a promise he made on his last visit, when he was asked, “next time, can you bring some football strips?”

That said, Alasdair, who lives in Back, remarked: “The next time I go back (to Tanzania) I’ll have to maybe balance the equation and take some Back football strips as well…”

Alasdair giving out Point FC’s old ‘Rudhach’ shirts
Alasdair giving out Point FC’s old ‘Rudhach’ shirts

Donald John MacSween, Point and Sandwick Trust general manager, added: “Point and Sandwick Trust were delighted to donate new strips to the Point Under 18 team, and even more delighted when they went on to win the Ladywell Cup on their first outing wearing the new strip!

“We are also very pleased that Alasdair was able to take full sets of strips out to local teams in Tanzania during his latest development trip there.”