Kicking goals from behind prison walls - Daily Nation

Kicking goals from behind Kodiaga prison walls

Wednesday March 14 2018

Kodiaga Men’s Football Federation

David Awour the chairman of Kodiaga Men’s Football Federation ( in blue khaki uniform) and Kodiaga inmate football players. PHOTO | ELIZABETH OJINA | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

By ELIZABETH OJINA
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By EDDY ODHIAMBO
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Many years ago David Awuor was a youthful customs official who dreamt of playing football for the national team.

But today he whiles away his time between the walls of Kodiaga Maximum Security Prison, where is serving a life sentence for robbery with violence.

15 years later, Mr Awuor has come to accept Kodiaga as his home and he is making the most out of it.

Mr Awuor, separated from his wife, children, work and dreams, he is finding freedom in playing football.

He says he turned to the sport to the torment of bedbugs and loneliness in jail.

At 46, his physical fitness has probably declined, but he says juggling the ball with other inmates has helped him through his times in jail.

David Awour

David Awour displays some trophies for the prison tournament. PHOTO | ELIZABETH OJINA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

At the prison’s welfare office where this interview was conducted, there is a list of eight football ‘clubs’ and team members drawn from the prison.

Each team has a total of 14 players but play seven-a-side kind of football. 

“Because of limited space we have to reduce the number of prayers to seven from each team for prison tournaments,” he said. 

“I love sports especially football. For us the game has become an avenue for stress management and keeping fitness,” he said.

For his dedication to the sport, he got the title of a ‘Trustee’ - a label used by those inmates who have reformed the most during their jail time.

The title comes with certain privileges such as putting on plain blue khaki uniforms, as opposed to the grey stripped ones worn by other prisoners.

David has played football most of his life.

“I played football both in primary and secondary school and in college also. I joined Kenya Customs and some bit of football too,” he said. “And now in prison I have kept the passion burning.”

His love for the game came from his late father, Josephat Awuori, who was a player for the local football giant AFC Leopards in the 80’s.

Awuor is also the chairman of the Kodiaga Men’s Football Federation (KFF).

As the chairman, he manages the affairs of the eight teams within the correctional facility.

Part of his duties includes registering new prayers, organising tournaments, solving disputes and dealing with the welfare of the footballers.

Awuor boasts in the fact that his facility was the first to organise prison football in 2005.

The inmate gives all credit to the officer in charge of social welfare at the prison, Haggai Ochami, for making everything happen.

The inmate describes the officer as a link between them and the higher offices that facilitated for the sport.

Mr Ochami says the game has benefited the inmates in a number ways but cites some challenges that they face such as field space, playing boots and soccer balls.