FOOTBALL fans in Rwanda now have the chance to take in a Borders derby thanks to the efforts of head of Gala Fairydean Rovers' academy.

Dave Sparham was one of a number of coaches from across the country who travelled to Africa earlier this month as part of the Scottish Football for Rwanda initiative.

He personally took over 100kg of kit and equipment generously donated by local clubs.

Border Telegraph: Youngsters in Rwanda wearing GFR and Melrose strips

And the excited youngsters were delighted to be decked out in Gala Fairydean Rovers, Melrose and Tweedbank Thistle strips.

The group also carried out a number of coaching sessions for the football mad children and managed to attend a couple of games.

Dave said: “It was a sobering experience. We’d be told to expect 80 kids but 120 would turn up than another 150 would literally come out of the jungle to watch.

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“These kids would have no shoes and ripped clothes and if any balls went out of our zone in their direction we wouldn’t see it again.

“One of the highlights for me was seeing a young lad handed a Scotland kit and hugging it for fear of it being take from him before beaming when we helped him put it on.

“I am keen to return in the future and will be collecting more equipment but that’s for the future.

“Firstly, the pitches are so uneven with terrible slopes so we are planning to return and try to level a pitch with the ultimate aim of installing a 3G facility.”

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But it wasn’t all fun for the group who took time out to visit the genocide memorials at Gisozi (the national memorial) and N'tarama which left a lasting impression on everyone.

Dave continued: “Unbelievable, incomprehensible, harrowing and distressing were just a few of the adjectives used by our group to describe our visits to the genocide memorials at Gisozi (the national memorial) and N'tarama.

“Even thinking about it days later I had tears rolling down my cheeks. The bus home was silent as we individually tried to come to terms with what we'd just seen and learned.”