Arsenal Forest: Neem Cup winners!

Sustainability Forest Neem Cup

The football teams we support in Kenya, the Bore Lions and Bore Lionesses, took part in the region’s annual Neem Cup competition last week – and came close to a double!

The competition not only promotes football but also tree planting, which takes place throughout the tournament alongside the action on the pitch. 

In the men’s tournament, the Bore Lions drew 0-0 with Zamalek, which meant they finished second behind Boda Boda United. 

After the men’s matches, there was a pause for tree-planting, with youngsters educated as to the importance of planting new trees in the region. More than 1,500 seedlings were planted during the tournament in and around the Arsenal Forest area. 

The women’s competition then took place in the evening, and our Bore Lionesses claimed the trophy after a 2-0 win over Singwaya Ladies, thanks to an own goal and a sweet free kick from Pendo Jefwa. 

The Neem Cup is becoming bigger every year and that’s partly do to with the close ties the competition has with Arsenal Football Club. Each year there is more community engagement and more associated planting of neem. It’s an object lesson in how to leverage “prestige by association” to facilitate an impact on sustainability. 

In fact, the organisers are planning to expand the cup and include an under-19 tournament in the next competition – we’d better fly out some more kit!

Shirt on tour

We’d like to think that we helped inspire the teams because the Arsenal Forest community in Bore is still buzzing – like our 20 beehives on the site – after site supervisor Alex returned home from his trip to England with lots of Arsenal goodies and tales of his trip to Emirates Stadium and Highbury. 

In fact, the shirt signed by our first-team squad went on something of a VIP tour back in Bore, as various members of the Arsenal Forest team posed for pictures and admired the precious signatures of players who are now very much heroes in this part of Kenya. 

Alex’s brand new coat was also popular for a photo opportunity – and it will definitely be useful on those chilly equator nights. 

The sense of pride from all of those associated with the Arsenal Forest was palpable as they listened to Alex’s account of how valued everybody on Bore is to everyone here back in north London, where they are very much part of the Arsenal family.

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