Sports: a tool to arrest bad behaviors

By Rabson Woodwell

Former South African President, Nelson Mandela said sports has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire.

It has the power to unite people in a way that little else can. Sports can awaken hope where there was previously only despair.

Complementing the words CCAP Church
and Society, a department under the CCAP Nkhoma Synod, is experiencing exactly that: changing the lives of people in the rural areas through the football league that is underway in some districts in Malawi.

The league became a reality through the funding from the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) and Forut. The project is running in Lilongwe, Mchinji, and Ntchisi with the running cost of about K4 million.

According to the project coordinator Kestings Chilopa, Lilongwe district has three centers namely: Msundwe, Mitundu, and Mtenthera at Kamphata. Mchinji district has 4 centers, which are Mkanda, Kapili, Kamwendo, and Waliranji; and Ntchisi has two centers namely: Kanjiwa and Malambo.

“The objectives of the league are to reduce the spread of HIV and AIDS, unite people, motivate people in the remote areas to start initiating developments on their own, through community groupings, reduce gender-based violence, and most importantly pass the good news of salvation to the masses,” Chilopa said.

He added that as an organisation they are so proud that right now they have curtailed the youth in rural areas from drinking habits, idleness, and some malpractices which can negatively affect their lives.

And during the finals of one of the match at Mtenthera center in Lilongwe last Sunday, Mkwera FC from the same community became the champions after beating Muvina FC 5-4 through post match penalties after the match ended 1 all within regulation time.

A lot of young people appreciate the initiative that the Church and Society department has taken in their areas, citing examples that many young people may now concentrate on issues that can help improve their living standards rather than pull them into bad behaviours.

“I personally, feel like my life has changed for the better because through the association with different friends during the games, and even some match trainings, I get good ideas on how to promote my life from my friends.

“My spiritual life has also greatly improved. In the past, I never had interest to go to the church, but with some mass teachings about the good news through football, it made get the message easily, because football is simple to associate with,” bragged one young man John Phiri at Mtenthera in Lilongwe during the final match involved Mkwera FC and Muvina FC.

Speaking to one of the organising committee member at Mitundu center in Lilongwe during the finals of the center on Sunday, November 5, 2017, Kumbukani Sitima concurred with all of the above that the impact is very big on the lives of young people in their areas.

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