Mozambique’s Mambinhas ready to strike at HALFTIME!

In Maputo, Mozambique’s capital, a field of 20 agile aspiring footballers from HIV programmes run by MSF did their best in recent weeks to impress selectors and secure their participation in the HALFTIME! five-a-side tournament in Johannesburg in neighbouring South Africa on July 2.


But only six have earned the right to call themselves “Mambinhas”. These three men and two women have taken their inspiration from the lightning fast venomous tree-dwelling mamba snake from which the Mozambican national football squad, the Mambas, also derives its name. Mambinha’s team captain, Joaquim MUTOLA, was diagnosed HIV positive in 2007. He says that MSF’s HALFTIME! is an opportunity to give a voice to people living with HIV in Southern African region, and should inspire those who are afraid to live openly with their of HIV positive status while reminding the world that the fight against HIV is not over. “The main motivation is to show that HIV positive people can do what HIV negative people do in life thanks to ARV treatment,’’ says Joaquim. Joaquim and the Mambinah’s are ready to show the world what they can do. Every Saturday the Mambinahs meet to train together to improve their football skills because they want to win all the games during HALFTIME! when will play alongside five other teams from Southern Africa! “All the players are very motivated and we aim to score three goals against HIV and AIDS in each game we play,” says Florência TAMELE, Mambinha player and spokesperson. Florência was confirmed HIV positive in 2008. She has been married for 13 years. “Joining HALFTIME! is our contribution to break the silence about HIV,” says Florência. Joaquim says the team feel it’s a big responsibility to represent Mozambican people living with HIV through participating in HALFTIME!: “With this opportunity we will tell the world that Mozambique also suffers from HIV and AIDS and that more needs to be done to fight the epidemic.” Abilio COSSA MSF Information, Education and Communication Officer Maputo, Mozambique
About World Cup feature World Cup feature is an internet blogging experience with first account stories of field workers and staff of  international humanitarian medical organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) conducted during the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, from June 7th to July 14th, 2010. The main objective of World Cup feature is to provide the worldwide audience an alternate view on the first FIFA World Cup in the African soil and to share positive chronicles of the Southern African region’s struggle to fight the dual epidemics of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. World Cup feature will include narrative, still pictures and short videos coming from countries where MSF field workers provide care to people suffering from HIV and tuberculosis, from Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and other places in the world. HALFTIME!, a one-day HIV positive patients soccer tournament organised by MSF in Johannesburg, South Africa on July 2nd, will also be featured. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the World Cup feature are those of the authors or the persons interviewed and can not be considered or quoted as MSF’s official position on the matters concerned.