Monday, May, 30, 2011
ARUSHA, TANZANIA--One week after playing the first game of college American football on the African continent, more than 100 players, coaches and staff from Drake University, the CONADEIP All-Stars (Mexico) and Global Football scaled the summit of the famous Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
The Drake Bulldogs won the Global Kilimanjaro Bowl with a 17-7 fourth quarter comeback in front of 11,781 curious but enthusiastic Tanzania spectators at the Sheik Amri Abedi Memorial Stadium on May 21.
Now the participants have also stood at the highest point in Africa at 19,340 feet after a five-day expedition dubbed 'Tupande Kileleni'--'Lets Climb to the Summit'--and two-day descent.
"We have achieved so much during our time here in Africa, with service projects to benefit the local community in Moshi, and have made history on the football field, but this is the most spectacular highlight," said Global Football President Patrick Steenberge. "This is an experience that those who have climbed will never forget.
"It was a wonderful and humbling moment when the two groups met at the summit and we realized a dream conceived two years ago to bring American football to Tanzania and to then give the players and coaches a truly memorable experience. It was worth every grueling step on old volcanic rock and scree."
The CONADEIP All-Stars group from Mexico climbed via the Machame route on the western slope and met the Drake University party who had traveled on the Rongai route on the northeast side of Mount Kilimanjaro.
The climbers converged on Africa's rooftop at dawn on Sunday after the final leg of a climb that lasted between six and nine hours. Headlamps lit the parade of players, coaches, staff, guides and porters, that had started at 11 pm on the Rongai and Machame routes and came to a spectacular conclusion when the sun peeked over Mawenzi, the second highest point of Mount Kilimanjaro.
The climbers gathered at Uhuru Peak (freedom peak) for photos, with Mount Meru to the west and massive glaciers all round. The Tanzanian guides received well-earned hugs of appreciation from the climbers and as the celebrations continued, CONADEIP head coach Juan Carlos Maya and assistant Carmelo Ramirez fought through the barrier of pain and fatigue to become the final two members of the party to meet on top of Africa.
The children of Drake Athletic Director Sandy Hatfield Clubb, Tristan and Skyelar, aged 9 and 12, became two of the youngest-ever climbers of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Event contact: Patrick Steenberge Patrick@GlobalFootball.com (011-255) (0) 762 379-437
Media contact: Michael Preston MP@MPrestonSports.com (011) 781-363-0305
About Global Football: Headed by President Patrick Steenberge, a former Notre Dame quarterback and high school All-American at Erie Cathedral Prep. During the past 14 years, Global Football has produced football games in 19 nations in North and Central American, Europe, Asia, Oceania and Africa. Working partners include NFL, NFL Super Bowl Host Committees, American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), Notre Dame, Penn State, Pop Warner, USA Football, and numerous Division III colleges as well as National Football Federations worldwide. www.globalfootball.com.