Tatenda’s Dream: A heart-warming tale of community and Football

The beautiful game has once again proved itself in the recent fixture between Notts County and Accrington Stanley, where the power of community has given one child an incredible opportunity. Tatenda, a young boy from Zimbabwe, had the chance to watch the game and visit his favourite player after the game, thanks to the compassion of Notts County Foundation’s Sport and Inclusion Manager Sarah McCamphill.


  • Child receives donated Notts County shirt to wear with pride
  • Zimbabwean refugee gets matchday opportunity at Meadow Lane
  • Jodi Jones meet and greet post-match


Tatenda and Jodi Jones after the game.


Tatenda and his mother arrived in the UK as asylum seekers and refugees, seeking safety and a better life. Their journey was filled with challenges, but their love and spirit remained strong. After arriving in Nottingham, Tatenda’s passion for football flourished, picking the famous black and white as his team.

Around six months ago, a connection was forged between Tatenda and Sarah. Recognising Tatenda’s deep love for football, she gifted him a precious treasure – a Notts County shirt. It may have been just a shirt to some, but to Tatenda, it was a symbol of something bigger and was a sense of belonging in a new place and the key to settling in our community.


Tatenda’s first view of the Meadow Lane turf.


Tatenda wore that shirt to every church service, wearing his pride for all to see. Little did he know, Sarah had been planning a special day for him at Meadow Lane. It came in the form of an invitation to watch Notts County face off against Accrington Stanley in a tense fixture at the top of the table.

As Tatenda entered the stadium, he was in awe. The cheers of the crowd, the energy in the air, and the sight of his beloved Notts County players warming up filled his heart with joy. He watched in amazement as his team battled on the field, and to his delight, they emerged victorious with a resounding 3-1 win, including two goals from superstar centre-forward Macaulay Langstaff.

But the magic of the day didn’t end there. After the final whistle, as Tatenda soaked in the unforgettable experience, a surprise awaited him. His favourite player, Jodi Jones, made a surprise visit as he exited the changing room. The moment was nothing short of magical and was a moment that reinforces our support of refugees and asylum seekers.


Tatenda and Sarah at Meadow Lane!


Sport and Inclusion Manager Sarah McCamphill expressed her delight at the day: “Getting the opportunity to spend the day with Tatenda was a heart-warming reminder that the power of football and community can transcend borders. His infectious enthusiasm and the magic of that day will forever inspire us to continue making a positive impact in the lives of young fans like Tatenda.”

Tatenda’s journey from Zimbabwe to Meadow Lane is a testament to the incredible impact sport can have on someone’s life. Notts County player Adam Chicksen, a Zimbabwean himself, serves as inspiration for young aspiring footballers like Tatenda that they too can make it. Moments like these remind us that through the love of football and the strength of community, we can create moments of pure happiness.


Tatenda analysing the table – watching Notts go top of League Two!


At Notts County Foundation, we believe in the power of sport to unite, inspire, and change lives. Tatenda’s story is a beautiful example of how the love of the game can transcend borders, cultures, and backgrounds, bringing people together.

For more information on our Sport Without Borders football session that supports Refugees and Asylum Seekers, contact stefan.furgala@nottscountyfoundation.org.uk

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