For details on how to contact our editorial and commercial departments, click here
Film students fly back from 'the other SAFC' in Kenya
A TRIO of North-East students have flown home after making a film about the other Sunderland Football Club - 4,500 miles from the Stadium of Light.
Three Sunderland University students jetted off to Kenya last month to film a village football clubs dramatic rise through the national leagues and to document the dramatic change in the local community brought about by the teams success.
David Kenny, Matt Ward and Kevin Clift are now editing their documentary based on the Sunderland AFC Keroche football side.
The documentary includes interviews with star players and they also found out first-hand what the North East public's generosity has achieved with donations including football kit.
The week-long stay in the village of Karai included having a goat sacrificed for the crew, witnessing a pitch invasion when the team snatched a last gasp winner and discovering how the orphanage is giving people the chance of a better life.
Even though the East African team has only been in existence since 2007, they are already planning on becoming one of Kenya's leading clubs and have a trialist representing the Kenyan under-23 team.
However, the week wasn't just a holiday for the three students, as they crammed filming into a gruelling schedule so they would have enough material for their dissertation project and to impress companies for possible future employment.
Kevin Clift, a Media Production Television and Radio student, said: "It's amazing how much progress has been made over the short period of time the club has been existence. We are beginning to see the benefits and how they are getting better. There are plans to build a running track, also available to the local school, as they gave the land to the club to use. The whole club, school and local orphanage has a massive community feel to it." The club, now in its sixth season, took its name thanks to the number of African footballers that have represented the Wearside club and continue to do so but also to attract possible UK sponsors. 'Keroche' was added due to Keroche Breweries being just outside of Karai and financial backing from the brewery itself.
By chance, Sunderland fan Gary Lamb came across the team on Facebook and instantly wanted to help the penniless club. Gary, who is now honorary president of the club, urged Sunderland fans to donate their old kit. A lot of the players didn't have football boots, often playing barefoot and sometimes arriving just minutes before kick-off because they were working round the clock in local quarries to provide for their families.
The aim of the club was to help prevent local youths from falling into crime, as many of the youngsters were ending up in jail after stealing to feed their families, or face starvation. Gary decided to help the team and, along with a group of businessman, urged people to donate money, kit and equipment.
The three students heard of the remarkable story and met Gary and were so inspired that they immediately got involved and are now hoping to premiere their feature film this summer.
It was thanks to the students own backing and also the generosity of people that the story will now be told to a British audience after £3,021 was raised between December and January to help cover all their costs.
David Kenny, a digital film production student said: " We want people to see what a difference the North-East people are making."
The number of sacrifices people made was also made evident to them with their driver, Ben, having to look after his father who suffers with a serious illness, runs the local orphanage, helps teach children skills for when they finish school and look after his father's family as well as his own.
Some players can't even afford boots to compete on pitches that can only be described as basic.
The team now plays in front of crowds in excess of 1,000 - before Gary Lamb the number of spectators could be counted on one hand.
More Sunderland AFC News
- Di Canio targets 'good characters' as PFA enter dressing-room feud
- Johnson defends Di Canio's hardline approach
- Will Di Canio's hardline approach succeed?
- Di Canio delivers damning assessment of Sunderland's indiscipline
- Match Report: Tottenham Hotspur 1 Sunderland 0
- Vaughan off as Sunderland end with defeat at Spurs
- Bardsley and Kilgallon axed from Sunderland squad
- Di Canio wants right characters at Sunderland
- Di Canio: Follow me or leave
- Di Canio focus is on club's academy