They were hit hard by Covid-19 - now you can help this SAFC-loving Kenyan community to bounce back
A plea has gone out to Sunderland supporters – to help an African community which is red-and-white crazy.
The village of Karai in Kenya is the home of Sunderland AFC Keroche football team.
Established in 2012 the football team relies on donations from SAFC fans.
It started as a group of football loving young men forming a football team, but they had no kit, no boots, and no pitch. They took the name of Sunderland into their title because their manager was a Black Cats fan.
It has progressed to become a side with a fanbase of between 3,000 and 4,000 supporters and the team has reached 22 cup finals in the last 9 years and also been promoted to the National Division 2.
Gary Lamb, from Seaham, is the president of Sunderland AFC Keroche which he originally founded with John Eilbeck.
He said that the area has been hit hard by the pandemic and Gary wants to help all the fans who would ‘love to be wearing the famous Sunderland colours’.
Gary said: “We want to bring cheer to them. We know that fans on Wearside will have shirts lying in cupboards, or their children will have grown out of shirts.”
The whole area has endured a six-week pandemic lockdown. Even before the Coronavirus, only 1 in 28 of the adults had a full-time job.
Then came the pandemic restrictions which hit local people and businesses hard and many of them struggled to earn a wage and put food on the table.
Restrictions are now easing but a campaign has been launched to raise smiles among the people of Karai and that’s where Sunderland fans can play their part.
Black Cats supporters are being urged to donate any SAFC shirts they no longer wear. They would be sent out for fans of Sunderland AFC Keroche to wear while they support their team.
Gary added: “We would like to be able to supply every one of our fans with a Sunderland shirt, and paint our town red and white.”
Anyone who would love to donate a shirt, hat or scarf can contact Gary on 07880 732078.
People can also find out more about the team by visiting the website here.