Black Cats meet Black Panthers

by Anthony Fenton

'African Sunderland' pay visit to football club.

A Kenyan football club has visited Sunderland AFC to take a tour of the club’s facilities as part of a knowledge sharing tour.

Chairman of Sunderland Keroche, David Waithaka, visited Sunderland last week as part of the Kenyan club’s connection with the city and its sponsors.

Sunderland Keroche, also known as The Black Panthers, has only been in existence since 2007 and was inspired to name itself ‘Sunderland’ after seeing how many African footballers opted for careers at the Stadium of Light. The club has already set their sight on becoming one of Kenya’s leading football clubs.

The Sunderland Keroche officials met with SAFC’s head of international football development, Graham Robinson who took them on a tour of the Stadium of Light and the club’s state of the art training base, the Academy of Light, where they chatted with Black Cats boss Gus Poyet, who was more than happy to meet the party and have a photo.

Graham said: “The work being done at Sunderland Keroche has been fantastic and we were delighted to share our experience and knowledge in implementing community schemes in Africa.

“The tour offered a glimpse into what goes into running a Premier League football club, both on and off the field, and we hope it was a beneficial experience for David to take back with him to Kenya.”

Accompanying David on his tour of the club was lifelong SAFC fan and Sunderland Keroche Honorary President, Gary SAFC Lamb. Since Gary’s involvement the club has risen through the divisions, even enjoying cup success.

David commented: “Before Gary and our sponsors came to the club, a lot of the player’s didn’t have football boots and we found it very difficult to gather a full team as we had no vehicle for transport.

“Now we have a fully kitted red and white team and transport to every game, I am very grateful to all our sponsors for their support and to Sunderland AFC for their advice and hospitality, this has been the best outing of my life.”

Following the visit Sunderland AFC has agreed to share its coaching methodologies with The Black Panthers and to support in the structural planning of youth development.

Through its many partnerships, relationships with football clubs and grass-root activities, Sunderland AFC has established itself as one of the most recognised and respected English Premier League clubs across Africa.