“I had this idea that we could start playing football seriously here in our neighbourhood. Even though I knew we were broke, I asked my mother if I could buy a leather football. I went down on my knees and said: ‘Please mum, can I buy a football?’
‘No Prince, you know we can’t afford it,’ she replied crossly. But I didn’t give up. I went to my aunt and uncle, who are older than my mother, and asked them to persuade her. They thought it sounded like a good idea, and they came home with me. ‘Prince has been selling water for years. Surely you can let him buy a football?’ said my aunt.
My mother was annoyed but she looked at me and said:
‘OK then, start saving and buy the football.’
I sold water like never before. I rushed home from school, fetched the coolbox full of water and went out onto the streets. It took several weeks to save up enough. Then I took the bus into town. I rushed to the sports shop, put my money on the counter and got the beautiful leather ball. I felt like I was walking on air all the way home. My team mates went crazy when they saw me coming home with the football. To be a good team you have to stick together. You can’t be good without taking training seriously, just like school.
“A while ago my mother said:
‘I’m sorry I was so negative when you wanted to buy the football. I can see that it has been good for you and for many others. People respect you. And I do too.’
Now we stick together in our area. I’m the team captain of Prince FC and I always say:
‘Stick together and don’t fight. Respect all the others in the area, even the other teams.’
Now that we have received support from YAI I feel like part of something bigger. We young people need role models. There are not many who have time for us young people, but Kimmie and his staff do. Both Lass and I are YAI volunteers and mentors for our teams. I want to be a good youth leader and I think I’ve made a good start. Parents come to me and thank me, because children changed since they started playing with us. That feels good.”
Text: Gunilla Hamne
Foto: Senay Berhe
Favourite footballer: Ronaldo, Portugal