In August 1990, 3 overseas amateur footballers who had relocated to the northern England town of Bolton decided to start a football team by placing an advert in a local newspaper. From these humble beginnings, a movement started that was called ‘Ambassadors in Sport’ which eventually became known as ‘Ambassadors Football’ from August 2013. This movement grew both nationally across the UK, and internationally to over 20 countries globally.
Ambassadors first brought a touring team to Africa in 1999. The team started in South Africa as they visited Cape Town, Johannesburg and then went on to Harare in Zimbabwe. This is where Ambassadors first realized that the potential to serve churches through football in Africa was very high. Having realized this, the following year (2000) a second team toured South Africa. This second tour saw many lives touched by the message of the Gospel. It was then that local Christian communities requested that Ambassadors consider opening a full time ministry in Cape Town…and in April 2001 this dream became a reality. Following an internship in South Africa and the USA, Justine Birichi worked work hand in hand with Ambassadors to establish an office in Kenya.
The ambitions of these founders of the Ambassadors offices have always extended beyond the field itself; their Christian faith, ethos and values drove them to go beyond the game and actually seek to bring transformation both to individuals and communities through the combination of Football Faith Future.
Since becoming a registered NGO in 2007, Ambassadors have aspired to be leaders in both the quality and quantity of their work in football and community. Ambassadors have done this by being facilitators in mobilizing people to participate in the vision to bring holistic transformation in individuals and communities through football. Therefore, for over 7 years Ambassadors has existed to bring about positive change in hard to reach, broken children, youth, adults and their communities through:
- running innovative, holistic (i.e. faith based and faith sharing) football programmes
- investing in churches, coaches, players and participants for their football outreach initiatives.
Our approach over the last years is that through the bridge of football, our workers successfully overcome barriers to get alongside people in a non-judgmental way to enable positive life-changing decisions to be made. From this platform of trust, Ambassadors workers then develop and deliver ‘football faith future’ programmes through clubs/academies, football schools, tours and community projects as well as providing support and training for churches, leaders, coaches and players.
The Kenyan work of Ambassadors is one of about 25 similar national charitable ongoing works around the world that are joined by an international covenant of agreement under the banner of Ambassadors Football International. During 2013 in Kenya, over 300 participants a week benefited from our ongoing programmes, another almost 1,000 attended Ambassadors events and 28 volunteers helped out through the year.