Aim: Sunderland Samba’s aims are to bring people together to learn from each other, understand each other better and support each other; to give people the opportunity to play as part of a team, especially those who might not normally get such an opportunity; and to encourage reflection on life and spiritual issues.
We are brought together by a mutual love of football and want to try to enable our team to play as much as possible, to improve and to show a good attitude both on and off the pitch.
Sunderland Samba FC has grown from small beginnings into a friendly club aimed at bringing people together to play football and share experiences.
Sunderland Samba FC was formed in 1999. It has its roots in the Methodist Church in Sunderland in north east England, but involves people from many different backgrounds. It all began when two young men, John and Gareth, were inspired to do something positive for young men in the local community and started out as a small group meeting for a kick about in the park. Since then, the club has grown to have several different teams and a large network of players: the 5-a-side teams, and the SMC 11-a-side team in the NE Christian league, as well as the Kenya Project, organising tournaments, promoting anti-racism campaigns, all while not losing the focus of just enjoying playing.
The club has a partnership with Young Asian Voices in Sunderland, and it’s membership is made up of a diverse group of nationalities and cultures, with local young men, asylum seekers and refugees from many countries, and people from many backgrounds.
Over the years our players have come from England, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Botswana, Cameroon, Germany, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Kurdistan, Liberia, Nigeria, Palestine, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Zimbabwe…
We have made 3 trips to Kenya over the last 5 or 6 years, since 2004, developing strong links with Mitumba in Nairobi, and the Girls Soccer in Kibera group, also in Nairobi, helping develop the girls’ secondary school and football academy. We have also supported peace initiatives in NW Kenya, in the border area between West Pokot and Turkana.