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Football tournament for nature conservation

In Zambia, much like in many countries worldwide, football takes center stage among the over 19 million inhabitants (Worldometer, 2022) (Chipande, 2009). Locals proudly refer to Zambia as a “footballing nation” (‘Psychology and the game of football – Zambia Daily Mail’, 2018), a title owed in part to the soccer enthusiasm of the first independent president, Kenneth Kaunda. The sport made its debut in the 19th century during the era of colonization (Tenga S. T., 2000).

Today, even in the most secluded villages, several football fields can be found, though often makeshift with tree trunks serving as goalposts and DIY fabric balls. Without a doubt, football in Zambia transcends its status as a beloved sport; it serves as a communal bond. Furthermore, the sport, particularly football, plays multifaceted roles, contributing significantly to various development programs (Jeanes et al., 2013).

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The importance of football in nature conservation.

Despite the endless stunning scenery and breathtaking wildlife species, many villages and protected areas in the central part of the Luangwa Valley in eastern Zambia have been neglected for decades. Luambe National Park, located right in the center of the valley, is the hub of Nsanga Conservation Zambia, an NGO supported by the Caring For Conservation Fund.

A total of three “chiefdoms” and tens of thousands of people share the greater Luambe area. Life in the bush is characterized by extreme heat, severe rain, frequent encounters with wildlife species, as well as extreme poverty. It is, therefore, not surprising that the acceptance for preserving wildlife and nature is often limited, as sheer survival is the primary objective of many people inhabiting the Luangwa Valley.

Football has been an extremely strong tool to unite people from different villages and chiefdoms. In 2023, Nsanga Conservation Zambia launched their first trial conservation tournament with over 22 participating teams from the chiefdoms Chitungulu, Mwanya, and Nabwalya. The tournament was organized and implemented through a number of local volunteers from all participating chiefdoms. Basic equipment such as footballs, trophies, prize money, rations, as well as transport for teams and salaries for referees were covered by C4C to make the most of the very first Nsanga Conservation Cup. The tournament lasted several weeks with frequent presentations on the importance of conservation. In total, the trial tournament was a huge success with several thousand spectators coming together to watch and cheer for their favorite teams. Feedback from community members was especially positive regarding uniting the three chiefdoms and providing free entertainment to the community.

We look forward to properly planning the 2024 tournament, which will have a much greater focus on conservation and equality. Ideally, Nsanga is planning to run both a men’s and women’s football tournament.


Chipande, H.D. (2009) ‘Introduction and Development of Competitive Football in Zambia (1930-1969)’, p. 108.

Jeanes, R. et al. (2013) ‘Sport for Development in Zambia: The New or not so New Colonization?’, in Native Games: Indigenous Peoples and Sports in the Post-Colonial World. Emerald Group Publishing Limited (Research in the Sociology of Sport), pp. 127-145. Available at:

‘Psychology and the game of football – Zambia Daily Mail’ (2018), October 13. Available at: (Accessed: December 9, 2022).

Tenga S. T. (2000) Globalization and Olympic Sport in Tanzania: A Developmental Approach. Norwegian University of Sport and Physical Education.

Worldometer (2022) Zambia Population (2022). Available at: (Accessed: December 9, 2022).

Erkunde die Essenz des Fußballs auf unserem beeindruckenden Bild, das die Intensität des Spiels in einem einzigen Moment einfängt. Die lebendige Szenerie des Spielfeldes, die sich vor deinen Augen entfaltet, zeigt die Hingabe der Spieler, während sie nach dem Erfolg streben.
Dieses Bild vermittelt die Dynamik des Spiels, die durch die Bewegungen der Spieler und den klaren Kontrast des Rasens unterstrichen wird. Der Ball, der über das Spielfeld rollt, erzählt die Geschichte eines Wettkampfs, bei dem jede Drehung und jeder Schuss eine entscheidende Bedeutung hat.
Tauche ein in die Spannung des Spiels und spüre die Atmosphäre des Stadions durch dieses Bild. Es ist mehr als nur eine Momentaufnahme – es ist ein Fenster in die Welt des Fußballs, wo jede Geste und jeder Ausdruck den Wettkampf und die Leidenschaft für das Spiel widerspiegelt. ⚽🔥