As the sun sets in Los angles and the Los Angelinos empty out of offices, the day is not yet done for Sheldon Shivachi; he has one more stop to make-the Long Beach Park. Half an hour later, after going through a training regiment, he takes a break, and I get a chance to ask his how his body feels:
“I have to work on my cardio. This tournament is not for jokers. The competition is world class. I haven’t felt this fit in a while.”
A few years ago, Sheldon was involved a freak motor cycle accident which kept him out of the game he loves for a long time. He had been condemned to a wheelchair for a few months, after which he underwent extraneous rehabilitation. This Saturday, at the African Diaspora Cup of Nations hosted by the city of Long Beach and organized by Nigeria Soccer Federation-USA , Sheldon sees it as another shot not just at life, but to be with teammates who he calls brothers
The two day tournament has attracted 20 African countries boasting players drawn from different states in America. For Sheldon and 26 other diverse group of players, they will be donning the Kenyan uniform. Their team-Harambee So CAL has been training in Irvine and Long Beach for the last 2 months and is now ready to take on the best of the best
The Kenyan team is a blend of youth, experience, wizardly and poise. Its a brotherhood that has created a platform for soccer enthusiasts to enjoy the game of football. The young players and recent immigrants to America, have found in the older players and those who have seen it all in America, perfect mentors. The networking opportunities and possibilties soccer aside, cannot be over emphasized.
Rama Kimani, the team manager is excited about the challenge the team will face this weekend. He hopes that the team will execute the game plan from the training ground.
Team Captain Alphus Imani is hoping to lead the team not just to the field, but to lifting the main trophy.
The matches will be played at 1900 Walnut Avenue, Long Beach, CA.
Harambee So CAL play first the first match against Real Sociedad at 9am in Field 1. At 11am, Harambee will be in field 3 to take on African Starz. At 2pm, Harambee and SGFC will duel in field 4. The final game of day 1 will be at 4pm against SF Golden Lions in field 4.