For Tedium Rodgers, being locked up in Kamiti Maximum Prison had never crossed his mind. The former Mathare United midfielder had always dreamt of playing in the English Premier League, specifically for Manchester United. He is a staunch supporter of the team.
“Growing up, I always loved football. I ate, slept, and dreamt football. I always supported Manchester United and wished I could one day play for the club. But my dreams were rendered invalid as one grave mistake landed me in Kamiti Maximum Prison,” says the former football player who found himself staring at the hangman's noose at the young age of 23.
Rogers, popularly known as Tee or Teddy among his peers, never imagined he would see freedom after he was sentenced to death back in the year 2000. He had been charged with robbery with violence, whose maximum sentence in Kenya is death.
“During my younger days playing football, I had other friends outside the pitch who misled me into a life of crime, which landed me in prison,” says Rodgers.
While in prison, Rodgers coached other inmates as part of his rehabilitation and also because of his passion for football.
He was released in 2019, and the road to reformed life, he says, hasn’t been easy. “I want to tell the youth that crime and drugs don’t pay. Stick to what you earn and keep working hard,” he says.
Betting firm Odibets, through its Odimtaani initiative, has come through for Rodgers with funds to enable him to start a tent-making business. While in prison, Rodgers had learned tent-making and he wished to continue with the art he had come to love.
“We have decided to stand with Rodgers. Everyone deserves a second chance in life. He might have erred before, but now he is reformed and needs to pick up the pieces,” Odibets Country Marketing Manager Aggrey Sayi explains.
“I never saw this coming. Odibets, under their Odi Mtaani initiative, has given me a chance of a lifetime. I will now make the best out of my tent-making skill,” says the elated Rodgers.
Odibets, through Odi Mtaani, supports needy talents across the country. Early this year, the betting company unveiled Charles Odongo, popularly known as the “Ugali Man”, as its brand ambassador. And that was after funding the renovation of his makeshift gym.
Odongo, a fitness enthusiast, had entertained netizens with a short video of him comically pinching off a good chunk of ugali (maize meal), tossing it up in the air, grabbing it majestically on its way back, scooping some soup with it and letting the mighty piece slide down his throat without much of a chew. The funny video was shared multiple times on social media and Odongo got nicknamed Ugali Man.
Odibets gave “Ugali Man” Ksh5 million worth of equipment to upgrade his gym, and also handed him a car as part of the Odi Mtaani talent development initiative.