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Everton in Kenya: Ex-Sharks player turned inmate urges his team to do Kenya proud

Former football player turned inmate at the Nairobi West Prison, Toldo Zatara believes that Kariobangi Sharks FC have what it takes to make Kenya proud when they face nine-time English league winners Everton FC on 7 July. Zatara, who hails from the impoverished and high-crime Kariobangi area in Nairobi, has been incarcerated for the past three years and was also grateful for global technology and entertainment company SportPesa for reigniting his football dream. Before the unfortunate turn of events that forced Zatara to be condemned to the Kenya Prisons system, he was part of the Sharks youth team, a memory that leaves a heart-rending feeling at the back of his mind. The youthful inmate was speaking to SportPesa News last week during a visit to the prison to donate kits, boots and balls as part of the Kits for Africa initiative, aimed at providing football essentials provided by international partners Everton FC, Hull City FC, Arsenal FC, Southampton FC and Torino FC. “We are so grateful that you have taken time out of your day to come and spend some time with us,” he said. “Some of us have never seen visitors since the time we have been in here and this does a lot to boost our morale, since there isn’t much to do locked up in here.” Zatara has seven months left on his sentence and despite having little to no contact with the outside world during his stint behind bars, he has not lost his love for the beautiful game and admits that the memory of what his life could have been saddens him. Everton FC will be the first English Premier League side to play a match on Kenyan soil on Sunday, 7 July when they take on Sharks at the Kasarani Stadium and Zatara had advice of his own to offer the William Muluya-coached side. “It’s a great opportunity for Sharks as they prepare to play against a team from the best league in the world. “Not everyone gets such a chance and I would just like to urge them to give it their all and believe that anything is possible,” he explained. “I know I could have been one of them but despite the shortcomings, I know that they will make Kenya proud. “Everton may be ahead due to the experience but a game is 90 minutes and the effort they put in on the day is what matters most,” Zatara underlined. The midfielder doubles up as the captain of the prison’s football team and he went on to emphasize the importance of such donations in the effort to continue to develop football in the country and the continent as a whole. “There are many of us who play football and all these donations will give us that extra urge to want to indulge in the sport, which will do a lot to aid in our rehabilitation, “It’s not easy to help the older inmates find themselves and sports is one of the best ways to do it,” Zatara concluded. Record-breaking former marathon runner Catherine Ndereba, who worked at the prison as a deputy in charge before she was promoted to the Sports Coordinator of the Kenya Prisons Service, returned to aid in the kits donation and was well pleased with the warm initiative. The four-time Boston Marathon winner led a team of Prisons officials during the visit and received a hearty round of applause from the inmates as she stood to address them before the donations were presented. “I am happy to be back here and even more so to be able to come with SportPesa officials to distribute these kits for all of you. “It’s very important for everyone to indulge in sports because in addition to the fun aspect, it makes you healthy both mentally and physically. I believe all that has been provided for you will help with your rehabilitation,” Ndereba stated.  COURTESY: SPORTPESA NEWS

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