Bob Munro and Mathare Youth Sports Association receive the Play the Game Award

Photo: Thomas Søndergaard/Play the Game

Bob Munro receives the Play the Game Award 2015. Photo: Thomas Søndergaard/Play the Game

28.10.2015

By Play the Game
On the last day of the Play the Game 2015 conference in Aarhus, Denmark, the biennial Play the Game Award went to Bob Munro and Mathare Youth Sports Association for their efforts to create sustainable social progress and their courageous battle against corruption in sport.

Founded by the Canadian Bob Munro in 1987, Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) has been working in the slums of Mathare outside Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, for almost 30 years using sport and particularly football to give young people the skills and confidence to improve their lives.

MYSA is run by and for the young people who take part in its activities, and its around 30,000 members combine their passion for sport with a strong community commitment working with health, education and other development activities.

For this work, the Play the Game Award 2015 on Wednesday went to Bob Munro and MYSA at the Play the Game 2015 conference held in Aarhus, Denmark.

In his motivation speech, Play the Game’s International Director, Jens Sejer Andersen, summed up the reasons for giving the award to Bob Munro and Mathare Youth Sports Association:

“MYSA has created a sustainable framework for the use of sport to promote social progress, environmental protection, education, individual self-esteem, team spirit, health protection including HIV/AIDS awareness – and, by the way, a successful professional football team, Mathare United,” Andersen said and continued:

“Bob Munro may be the chairman and main catalyst of this development, but it is the youth of Mathare who ensures that this vision is becoming reality under harsh living conditions, marked by poverty, violence, shootings and crime.”

In his speech, Andersen also emphasised the ongoing fight against corruption in Kenyan football and MYSA’s success in creating an independent Premier League run by lawful and transparent business and administration operations.

“It has taken tireless work to lead the battle against the many thieves that had taken possession of the Kenyan Football Federation, and it comes at a considerable risk. For whatever reasons Bob Munro has received several death threats over the years. Apparently they have not been carried out successfully,” he said.

Jens Sejer Andersen also touched on the challenge that MYSA faced, when a private Norwegian foundation supporting MYSA financially decided to pull its support declaring that they did not feel MYSA was taking allegations of sexual assaults and corruption seriously. This came as a temporary blow to MYSA’s economy and reputation, but having carefully revised the publically accessible information, including documents published on MYSA’s homepage and critical analyses in the Norwegian media, Play the Game’s decision has not been affected by it.

“We have asked ourselves one question: Are we convinced beyond any reasonable doubt, on the basis of the information we have access to, that MYSA’s leaders do every effort they possibly can to safeguard their members and secure that the policies and guidelines are carried out. Our answer is a resounding ‘yes’,” Jens Sejer Andersen said, before handing over the award to Bob Munro.

“So for their admirable efforts to create sustainable social progress, for their courageous battle against corruption in sport, and for their continuous fighting spirit and belief in humanity, we are proud to hand over the Play the Game 2015 award to Bob Munro and Mathare Youth Sports Association.”

Read the entire motivation speech

More about the Play the Game Award

 
 

The Play the Game Award pays tribute to an individual or a group of persons who in their professional careers or as volunteers in sport have made an outstanding effort to strengthen the basic ethical values of sport.

The award consists of a piece of graphic art made by the Danish tennis champion, musician, writer and artist Torben Ulrich supplemented by an invitation for the next Play the Game conference with all expenses paid.

  • Joshua Cohen, California, 04.11.2015 06:53:
     
    I am thrilled to see this news: a wonderful testament to the work that Bob and MYSA have done for so many years. Congratulations!!
  • Bonface Mbugua, 03.11.2015 17:55:
     
    Congratulations Bob Munro and MYSA for the prestigious award, keep up the good work and more awards are on the way.
  • Barbara Stevens, 03.11.2015 15:58:
     
    I continue to be very proud of my brother and of all that he has accomplished in his adopted country. Bob had a dream and sacrificed a lot to make it come true. Thank you to 'Play the Game' for recognizing the work that my brother and MYSA have done to improve the lives of hundreds of children.
  • joseph shiundu, 29.10.2015 20:34:
     
    Congratulation Bob and Mysa family,for starting MYSA project I have really benefited as a member,winning schorlarship has made me see the door of a class and avoid drug abuse.LONG LIVE BOB and MYSA d
  • James Njuguna Mwaura, Kolding, Denmark, 29.10.2015 11:09:
     
    I want to thank Play the game for awarding Bob Munro. It is because of what he started that am here where i am. I joined MYSA as a footballer when i was 11 year old. When i turned 12 i was selected to participate in a tournament in Norway Cup.

    At the age of 15 i joined a photography project in MYSA called shootback. At the age of 22 i become the project manger of shootback and the success story continues...... My point is MYSA is an NGO that changed our life and molded us to be responsible people. I was living in an area where crime was high, so if i had not joined MYSA activities you never know what i could end up being.

    I congratulate Bob for the award and he 100% deserve it. And as our motto says Haba na Haba hujaza kibaba.

    Kind Regards

    James
    Mysa Member

  • Prof.Michael Hopkinss, Geneva Switzerland, 29.10.2015 01:07:
     
    Congratulations on an Excellent choice....Bob is a role model to the whole world,above and beyond sport as well.
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