Ms Abdikadir and the Team (Hodi) Arrive In Moscow

Kenya has been well represented in the World Cup Tournament in Moscow despite the National team, Harambee Stars, failing to book a ticket there. Its not just journalists and fans there, but also young visionary players who will take part in the Fifa Foundation Festival this week.

The Fifa festival brings together 48 non-governmental organisations from 38 countries around the world that work to make a positive difference through football. It is an action packed 10-day programme which includes a football tournament in Red Square, Moscow, and the purpose of the event is to showcase the power of football to change lives.

Two teams from Kenya, Horn of Africa Development Initiative (HODI) and the Mathare Youth Sports Association were selected by Fifa among 100 applicants from East Africa.

Mathare Youth Sports Association Players Tour Moscow City

Among the players who will be privileged to watch the football showdown in Russia is Kabale Halake, a 17-year old form four student at Moi Girls Secondary School in Marsabit. Halake has overcome all odds, to see her football dream become a reality.

“My culture is against girls participating in any sport. My mother makes us go to madrassa for four hours on most afternoons and because I knew she would not allow me play, I would attend madrassa for two hours each day and sneak out to play,” said Kabale, who spoke to a local daily.

This is not the first time the teen is being invited abroad courtesy of her football talent. Sometime back, she was invited to USA for armature football, but her mother declined due to religious and cultural reasons.

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“There was a time I was supposed to travel to the USA for an amateur football tournament. I was very excited and rushed home to tell my mother. But instead of celebrating with me, she scolded me and hid my birth certificate, and I ended up missing the trip. Without a birth certificate, I could not get a visa,” she says.

Shoot to score, not to kill is the motto of the team

This time, she made it with the help of Fatuma Abdulkadir, the founder and executive director of HODI.

This has presented Halake and her colleagues, Ogom Asogo, 18, Samson Dido, 18 and Hanadi Abdinassir, 16, who have similar stories, with a gleam of hope.

Ms Abdikadir hopes to see one of her players make it to the national teams, Harambee Stars and Starlets. The two teams have been under-performing despite there being sufficient talent in the country.

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