This blogger watched the UEFA Champions League Final between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid at the Inka Homes in Naivasha as part of Mafans 5.
Mafans is a football group of Kenyans that has been going on strong for the last decade. Mafans is a word which has been gotten from the term “fans” and then given the Swahili touch of “Mafans” or many fans. The group is comprised of professionals from a variety of fields who have a love for sport. The prime focus of the group is the English Premier League which is as any commentator is huge all over the planet. The group also discusses other sporting events that are happening in the world of sport both locally and internationally.
This blogger joined the group in 2008 or thereabouts and it had already been going on strong for a while. At that point the group was run as an email group where folks would share their opinions on the games with insults flying around on match day and after as folks reacted to results. After a tragedy, the group went into a bit of a hiatus only to reappear a couple years ago. This time round, the group would return as a Whatsapp group which was even more personal as we all know.
The group has been hosting events to network and get to know one another as we started the second phase of Mafans. These events tend to happen when really big football matches are happening and there had been already four of these events. The biggest football match in European football was happening on May 28th, 2016 and the group decided that this was as good a time as any to do an out of town edition of Mafans. After much discussion, the first Mafans not happening in Nairobi, the fifth in the edition, would be happening in Naivasha. The designated place for this event was the Inka Homes which is off the main road of the town with all the camps and resorts.
This blogger was busy on the Saturday so couldn’t join up with the rest of Mafans who were driving into the venue. I opted to use public transport to the beautiful town by Lake Naivasha in the late afternoon. It’s been a while but things haven’t changed that much in the last few years if you are planning on using this method. You head to the Oillibya on Ronald Ngala Street where you pay Kshs250 for a matatu to Naivasha. From here you head out of the city through Kirinyaga Road, past Globe Cinema Roundabout, through Westlands and onto the open road. You pass Limuru town which is cold as a mother followed by going through the Great Rift Valley Viewpoint where you see breathtaking views into the valley.
So I got off the matatu in Naivasha town and check the directions I had been sent. Err, go to a place with a name that sounds like a “tractor” in Kikuyu then turn left into some pot hole filled road and you get to a wall and there you are. As I am doing my math, a friendly boda boda rider approaches me and I explain my dilemma; he offers to take me there for Kshs600. Now I use the boda boda aka motorcycle taxis a lot in Nairobi and when a guy says that the price is that high I know that it’s far. I didn’t even bother negotiate; as long as he dropped me off with causing me harm I was game. I hopped on and off we were into the Naivasha night.
Past the highway with the Subarus which had stalled on the side of the road we went and eventually I made it to the designated place to watch the game. Here I met the main organizer Githii as well as Onserio aka Mwalimu and Murigu aka Holmes and a few other characters. As I settled in with the food and the beers the rest of the gang checked in; Doreen, the two Caros and more. Even the founder of the group Masese aka Maxexe was sported in that group. And Fidel. And.. And… It was a full house.
Eventually the match started and the whole group was keenly following the proceedings on the screen. Many were weirdly enough supporting Atletico Madrid but their support was not to deny Ronaldo and his Real. They would go on to lift their 11th Champions league crown on that night. With the end of the match the party begun and went onto the early hours. I remember sleeping around 4:30am; way past my bed time J.
Thanks to all the work done by the team behind Mafans 5. The tireless organisers Githii and Edna. The “sponsors” Kiprop and Brian. Those who attended. I can’t wait for Mafans 6. Wherever and whenever it will be.