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Football legend uses sport to address drug abuse

As a way of sensitizing youths against drug abuse and combating insecurity, football legends in Busia, led by Justus Mukoko, organized a one-day soccer tournament at Busibwabo village in Matayos Sub-county in an effort to educate and nurture the lost talent in local brew (Busia).

The “Murija Tournament,” as the name suggests, brought together over 200 youths who had abandoned their talents in sports for busaa and chang’aa, with some opting to indulge in insecurity and smuggling activities across the border.

Omollo FC from Nasira were crowned champions after defeating Resort FC from Busibwabo 3-1 in an entertaining encounter that attracted soccer fans across the county.

Justus Kapura gave Omollo FC an early lead after receiving a world-class pass from Titus Barasa in the 23rd minute. Franklin Malobo and Rodgers Wandera scored a goal each in the second half to assure the visitors’ victory.

The last-minute penalty by Moses Ochieng of Resort FC was not enough to add pressure on the champions.

According to Justus Mukoko, many talents are lost as a result of drugs and scotching poverty, which pushes many youths into acts of indecency.

“We are providing a life skills training programme to build resilience among youth and reduce anti-social behaviour. Sports increase adaptive and positive behaviour and address risk factors related to violence, crime, and drug use,” said Mukoko.

He said that sport is the best tool for personal transformation and character building for children and adolescents. “Sports teaches us how to live with differences, to learn the value of others, to respect others, and to deal with frustrations daily.”

Acknowledging his sentiment, Resort FC captain Richard Nyongesa applauded the soccer legend for using soccer to rehabilitate youths who were already addicted to drugs and crime.

“Busia has a lot of talent; the only problem we have is a lack of support from the county and national governments, leaving most youth with no option but to resort to drugs,” said Nyongesa.

All  four teams, including champions Omollo FC, Jonai FC from Mnazi Moja, Resort FC, and Mang’eni Township United, received training kits and uniforms from the organizer.

By Absalom Namwalo

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