Monday, July 13, 2015

Swedish Soccer Star Keeps Slum Hearts Warm

Via The Local:

John Guidetti helped score Sweden its biggest footballing win last month, but his early career was spent in Africa's biggest slum, where he's always been a hero, his former coach Tiras Waiyaki has told The Local.

While Zlatan Ibrahimovic is currently Sweden's only global football celebrity, the country's Under-21 side's win in the European Championship in Prague a fortnight ago suggests that the future looks bright for the Scandinavian nation.

And while Ibrahimovic has a reputation for making controversial comments and celebrating all things bling, John Guidetti -- arguably the most likely next sporting icon to emerge from Sweden -- could not be more different.

The former Manchester City player, who has just signed for Spanish club Celta de Vigo, spent part of his childhood in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, where his father was a teacher and charity worker.

Having begun his footballing career at IF Brommapojkarna, a youth club in Bromma, Stockholm, he joined the Impala Brommapojkarna at the age of 10, a team affiliated to the Swedish side but based in the city's biggest slum, Kibera.

"John naturally and most amazingly mingled with the boys from much poorer backgrounds with relative ease, leaving many in awe of the young lad", his former coach Tiras Waiyaki told The Local on Monday.

"They say every football team has a clown. John was the team’s clown, often churning [out] rib cracking jokes that left us all in stitches. At times choosing to speak in broken Kikuyu (a local Kenyan language) it was all mad fun! He also used the pit latrines at the Olympic Stadium in Kibera with such calm and played barefoot when need arose".

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