AN African football team based in rural Zambia will be turning out in Ballymena kits from now on thanks to a link between the County Antrim team and Holy Cross Boys’ School Ardoyne.

Each year for the past four years a number of school staff members have travelled to the village of Chibombo to work on development and education projects. But during the visits, aside from the work one of the most popular activities they take part in is football, with the local team taking always taking on the visitors.

Principal Kevin McArevey said he knew the team would benefit from a new kit and set about utilising links with Ballymena to see if they could donate any equipment.

“Tony Kane, who plays for Ballymena, teaches in the school and I asked him if he thought the club could do anything for us. Tony approached the manager David Jeffrey and he obliged us with a full set of kit.

“This was a massive thing for the players and to see their faces when we presented them was unbelievable, they were over the moon. We can’t thank David and Tony enough for the gesture, it was such a generous thing to do.”

Ballymena Vice Chairman Don Stirling told the North Belfast New they were delighted to have been able to help out Holy Cross.

“We’ve sent a few kits to Africa over the years because one of our sponsors, John Blair, goes out every year to work on development programmes,” said Don.

“Tony Kane has been with us for six or seven years and has been a great servant to the club so when he asked we were only too happy to help.

“We were delighted to donate the kits and we can only hope it brings them some happiness where the poverty is like nothing we can imagine here in Northern Ireland.”