Our players arrive at the training center from all over Kenya. These young people who represent the Kalejin, Kikuyu, Luo, Luhya, Meru and others have arrived for the final try-outs of a 7-aside co-ed football team that will play in a league put together by a consortium of wealthy businessmen. Bukenya, a wealthy philanthropist who has the reputation for controversy, fields IMANI FC. He’s recruited Telis, a successful football coach who is known as much for his independence as for his record of wins.
Telis is thankful for the job as he’s been on a downward spiral since his wife was murdered during the post election chaos. His daughter Lulu is the light of his life. During try-outs, Lulu wanders off. Johari finds her and the little girl and Johari bond immediately. The frantic coach is deeply grateful to Johari for bringing Lulu home.
The players are excited and thrilled to be in the final try-outs but within minutes of their hitting the pitch, a shoving match ensues and tribal epithets are heard. The coach breaks up the melee and demands to know, “Can you put your tribal differences aside for the good of the team?”
This central question underlines the entire series as players cautiously forge friendships and bonds that challenge their belief systems and push them well beyond their comfort zones.
ABOUT THE TEAM
The Team is a dramatic TV series which was created in response to the devastating violence in Kenya following the 2007 general elections. The series dramatizes how the newly recruited members of the co-ed 'Imani' soccer/football club learn to overcome their tribal, ethnic, social and economic differences. The Team was created by Search for Common Ground and Media Focus on Africa Foundation in Kenya.
This series is a metaphor of Kenyan society. Imani FC ('faith' in Swahili) members and the Coach have been brought together from many of Kenya's tribal groups to play together on a co-ed league. The league has been formed and financed by a group of wealthy international philanthropists and businessmen who believe sport will be a way to neutralize the ethnic hatred that shook Kenya after the last elections.
The characters are from broken families, even as Kenya is a broken country. In that way, the team becomes a surrogate family for our players. They each want a 'family' but no one knows how to reach out and get it. Each of the players, and the Coach, struggles to overcome ethnic hatred that sparked violent confrontations after the elections. The purpose of the series is to show that it is possible for people to overcome their differences and that co-existence is possible.