Paje Village, on the east coast of Zanzibar, famous for its perfect white beaches and turquoise lagoon. It is popular for kite surfers and for holidaymakers looking for beautiful tranquility. Paje’s got talent: Football is a passion here.
Paje supports several teams who play in the early evenings and compete in a local league. One of the newest teams is Paje Ajax, set up by Bigambo Maulidi Shaka. Bigambo works at Paje’s intentionally famous Paje by Kite kite surfing school. All his spare time is devoted to the football team.
He has just started a youth team to bring on the next generation of talent. The enthusiastic youngsters from ages 6 to 16 train on the beach every evening. The Paje Ajax youth team are hoping to start playing matches in the East Coast Junior League soon but they need to collect a full set of football boots and buy a team kit.
Bigambo is entrepreneurial in his fund-raising, using Facebook to stay in touch with visitors who have been to Paje and supported the team.
The photos were taken at one of their daily training sessions on the beach. East African football has yet to make the global impact that the West African game has had, but there is no lack of enthusiasm and ambition. Perhaps the next Didier Drogba will be found on the Indian Ocean beaches of Zanzibar. as