Epic football duel goes to Kilimanjaro peak


FOR the first time since creation a women football match will be staged on top of Africa’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro this week.

Apart from being staged in an extraordinary place, the soccer match will also involve lady footballers from more than ten countries who started scaling the world’s tallest, free standing mountain through the Londorosi Gate on Loresho route last Sunday, the expedition will take ten days.

A total of 60 female soccer players, coaches and umpires from the United States, United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, Jordan, the United Kingdom, South- Africa, Rwanda, Sweden, Qatar, France, Pakistan and Germany as well as the host Tanzania have taken up the new initiative to stage the first ever football match on Mount Kilimanjaro.

The full scale 90 minutes’ match will be played on the 24th of June 2017 (next Saturday) when the expedition is to reach the escalation of 5,731 metres above sea level at the area on the mountain known as ‘Crater,’ which is levelled and usually used as camping height.

Among the soccer players is Ravji Ladha who played for Twiga Stars in 2006 and who is now serving the International Football Academy (IFA) in Dubai, who said she was happy to be part of the history in the making.

It is reported that the match will be the most sensational sporting event to be recorded this year both in the country and globally. The National Female Soccer team, ‘Twiga Stars,’ was invited for some reason but it pulled out in the last minute.

“Tanzania is making good progress in women football and we hope that through this expedition, many ladies will be encouraged to join the sport,” said Ladha.

The historic soccer event is being organized under ‘Equal Playing Field Project,’ in association with Nature Discoveries and Kilimanjaro Outfitters, while the Tanzania Tourist Board chips in as the government agent.

The Communications Officer for the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB), Geoffrey Tengeneza, said this first ever soccer match on Kilimanjaro will further promote the mountain, Tanzania’s tourism industry and the country as a whole. Sportswise, the lady soccer personalities are being hosted by the Future Stars Academy of Arusha.

Alfred Itaeli is the Director of the FSA and says: “We intend to show the world that everything is possible; soccer on Kilimanjaro but also women playing soccer, not only on ordinary venues but also at highest altitudes,” he said.

Itaeli added that for years, soccer has been the domain for male players, but this trend is slowly but surely changing with more women joining the sport and proving to be good if not better. Future Stars Academy is being represented by two female soccer players; Regina Marcel and Upendo Leonard.

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