Bob Munro: The Man Who Built Mathare United FC From The Slums And Its Uncertain Future

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Bob Munro: The Man Who Built Mathare United FC From The Slums And Its Uncertain Future
Mathare United FC Photo/Courtesy

Mathare United, popularly known as Home of Slum Boys, is one of the top tier football clubs in the country that participates in the Kenyan Premier League (KPL). The giant football club has been facing financial constraints for the first time after being in existence for 28 years.

In this article WoK brings you the story of Bob Munro – the man who built the football club and how it is plunging to its death bed.

Bob Munro

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Bob Munro is the founder and Chairman of Mathare United – a football club he established in 1994 with the aim of giving the ghetto youths an opportunity to showcase their soccer talents and sharpen their skills. He is also the founder and Chairman of the Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) – a youth-centered sports organization established in 1987 in Mathare. The organization has impacted the lives of over 30,000 youths mainly from slums through leadership training, music, sports and photography. He is the former chairman of the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) and currently serves as the Managing Director (MD) of XXCEL Africa Limited.

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Achievements of MYSA and Mathare United

Through MYSA and Mathare United, Bob has been able to achieve a lot and won several awards including; Mathare United won the Kenyan President’s Cup in 1998 and 2000 and won the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) once in 2008. MYSA won the 1992 UNEP Global 500 Award for environment innovation (Rio de Janeiro), the 2001 African Youth Development Award (Johannesburg), the 2004 World Sports Academy/Laureus Sport for Good Award (Lisbon), the 2008 Score4 Africa Environment Award (London), the 2010 common Ground Award for community and peace building (Washington), the 2011 Beyond Sports Award for Leadership in Sport (Cape Town). The MYSA youths were also the FIFA Football for Hope Champions during the FIFA World Cup in Germany in 2006 and in South Africa in 2010.

The Fall Of The Giant Mathare United

Mathare United has been slowly crumbling down. Currently, the club is at the bottom of the league with only 11 points having played 27 matches. If things remain as they are, then the 2008 KPL Champions will face the relegation sword for the first time in their history. According to sources close to Bob Munro, if the football club is relegated then it would be the start of the end of Mathare United. In recent days, the club has been facing financial constraints to the point of being unable to host or honor a match.

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“Today is a sad day in the 23-year history of Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) and Mathare United Football Club (MUFC). It’s an especially sad and even painful day for me and the MUFC staff, coaches, players and their families as well as for the tens of thousands of youths in Mathare and the neighboring slums who dream of helping themselves and their families escape poverty by someday playing for Mathare United. Today, sadly, our team is financially unable to host and honor a match for the first time since we started playing in the FKF leagues 28 years ago,” read a part of a statement on Mathare United’s financial situation released on 23rd April 2022 by Bob Munro.

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He further went to reveal that the financial crisis has been largely contributed by a number of issues such as; the FKF forced expansion of the Kenyan Premier League (JPL) in February 2017, the related Supersport termination of their KPL contract in March 2017, the necessary but difficult Covid-19 suspension of the league for five months in 2020, the FKF hostile takeover of the Kenyan Premier League in September 2020, the FKF failure to pay clubs a fair share of the KPL broadcast/title rights revenue and the FKF mismanagement of FIFA, GOK and sponsorships funds during 2018 – 2021.

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