KAMPALA- Bobsledding (a winter sport in which teams of two or four teammates make timed runs down narrow, twisting, banked, iced tracks in a gravity-powered sled) is a game few have heard about in Uganda.
When retired American bobsledder Lorenzo Smith III, an ambassador for Right To Play, visited Kamwokya Ghetto boys last Friday, you would think they had watched him in action for a while.
The chemistry was instant as he mingled with them to play charitable soccer match at Treasure Life Centre, a dilapidated community hub in Kamwokya slum.
For the former 2006 Winter Olympics contender whose expertise is in racing, his football skills were limited, but he still had that spontaneous understanding and passed the ball with the little boys that had nicknamed him ‘Uncle’.
“It was fun training with these less privileged kids with such immense talent. I had come with my wife to visit Bwindi Forest but I don’t regret the time I spared to pass by and play with them,” Lorenzo, 41 told Daily Monitor.
He is part of the US-based foundation that is fundraising for the Tusobola community through Right To Play and was impressed by the steady progress of the project.
“I’m going to share my experience with my colleagues back home so that we continue helping these talented kids to achieve success.
“They can make it to the top if they stay focused, work hard and listen to their coaches,” said the former United States military officer.
Kenneth Mugisha, a former street kid, coaches the 80 deprived kids who still lack life basics like food, shelter and education.
“This help from Right To Play has given us a ray of hope to solider on. Since I joined the Tusobola project in 2016, we have got success stories like Brian Muwonge who now plays for the national team U-17 while Owen Ntambi and Jonathan Adit have since been taken on by academies in UAE,” said the former Kamwokya United defender.
According to Evelyn Francis Aguti, the Right To Play country manager, they are currently improving the livelihood of 4000 children (between 6-18 years) and Kamwokya falls into their Kyebando cell.
“We consider having 50 percent girls as we aim to increase associating with needy communities.
“Right To Play has trained 255 junior leaders to handle the 78 primary schools we are working with.
“We have been able to help street kids go back to schools, gain interpersonal skills, some have travelled abroad to play soccer and start income generating activities thanks to our partners in America.” Aguti revealed.