- Whilst traveling through Zambia, I came into contact with Mr. Bona, who is a coach/trainer of a football team in the town of Chilonga. Mr. Bona told me that he started the team to give the local teenagers an afterschool activity. He believes that sports are good for the soul. He says it keeps the youngsters motivated to go to school and away from the local bars.
Mr. Bona invited me to watch an important match on a Sunday afternoon, so I proposed to take a few photos of the team right before the kick-off. He was very enthusiastic about the idea and he told me everything about how the team came to be. I felt that it was important to Mr. Bona that I tell the people back home and you, while you are reading this, about the football team from Chilonga. How hard they’ve been working on the team and about how much it means to them. The match that I had witnessed was a way for them to reach the quarter-finals of the regional competition, so it was indeed an important match.
As kind and calm as Mr. Bona was when I first met him, just as intense is he as a coach on the sidelines. It shows how much he cares about his players. In return a saw the players work hard for each other and their coaches.
Unfortunately when I woke up the same morning I was running quite a fever and I came to the obvious conclusion that had malaria. I have never been so sick while taking photos, but it was still a unique experience with the whole team. There were moments I forgot about my illness because of the laughs the team and I shared.
At half time I told Mr. Bona I was feeling too weak and that I had to go back to bed. After using three days of medication to get back on my feet, I heard that the team lost the game with 3-1, but they still have a chance to win the competition. When I’ve printed the photos and sent them by mail, I hope to hear back from them that they are the champions from Chilonga.