Kids should use sport as a vehicle to make it in life. Let us grab this opportunity and make full use of it

Kids should use sport as a vehicle to make it in life.

These are the words from Ms. Vinolia Fortuin, who is in the Environment, Sport and Tourism Portfolio Committee in the Mossel Bay Municipality.

Ms Fortuin was the guest of honour at the SAFA Grassroots and Live Your Goals Football Festival held this past weekend in Mossel Bay at the Mossgas Stadium in Ext 23.

“We have to be grateful to the South African Football Association for bringing this event to our shores. We all know that Mossel Bay is a developing town and we believe with such projects coming to our area we will also be able to develop the young ones. We want them to stay away from the life of crime, and sport is one way of doing that,” said Ms Fortuin.

“We are optimistic that what we are witnessing here today will bear fruit in the years to come. Children also have to play their part and help us in building this town, especially when we have such great projects being brought to us. Thank you one, and thank you all for coming.”

Prior to the Football Festival, local coaches from all seven Local Football Associations (LFA) of the region underwent training to be equiped with skills to deal with kids.

The 30 participants – from Hessequa, Kannaland, Mosselbay, Oudtshoorn, Plettenburgbay, George and Knysa – were tutored by SAFA Instructor Boebie Williams, who was assisted by trainee instructor Maud Khumalo (Banyana Banyana assistant coach).

The three-day training course entailed, among other things:
  • Grassroots Philosophy
  • li>Characteristics of Children li>Methodology of coaching li>Small Sided Games and the Laws thereof li>Organisation of a children’s tournament/mini football festival li>Basic Football skills – Technique, Coordinaiton, Agility and Motor Skills

The coaches were also given time to go outdoors and do their practicals with local schoolkids in preparation for the smooth-running of the football festival.

Grassroots is an activity for children between the ages of six and 12 where they are basically introduced to the game at a very early age.

The South African Football Association (SAFA) has been running this programme for a couple of years around the country and these are held a few months apart.

The Live Your Goals programme is very similar to Grassroots, but it focuses on girls.

It is a FIFA-sanctioned project that was launched at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011.

The main objectives of the programme are to increase participation of girls and women in football; to increase the popularity of women’s football locally, nationally and globally; to spark, foster and generate excitement about women’s fooball and also to create the best platforms for women’s football to thrive, with more females becoming lifelong participants in the sport.

It is the first time the region hosts the event – and despite a low turn out of kids, the event went well.

Ms Fortuin watched the event with the vice president of the South African Football Association (SAFA), Elvis Shishana, who is also the President of the SAFA Eden region.

“I have to concur with Ms Fortuin, our Football Association services so many regions and this time around they picked us – we have to be grateful for that. The challenge is upon us now as to what do we do with the skills acquired by our coaches. We all saw there was a lot of interest from the children that came through, we have to find ways and means of keeping the interest and not lose them to other sporting codes,” said Shishana.

“This is where development starts, and now that we have managed to bring the kids closer to us, the hard work is in keeping them here – and it is all our responsibility to ensure that the next Benni McCarthy, Percy Tau, Itumeleng Khune, or Janine van Wyk, Amanda Dlamini and Linda Motlhalo come from this lot. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but it can be done. Let us grab this opportunity and make full use of it.”

Shishana was also full of praise for the coaches. Blcokquote>”I would be failing in my duties if I did not recognise the excellent work done by our coaches. Some of you are new to this but at the end of the three days, because of your enthusiasm and dedication, you were able to impart the knowledge you gathered at the course and make this event meaningful and unforgettable to the children,” added Shishana.

“We would not have done this without you, and we will forever be grateful for your participation. And I hope this is a sign of bigger things to come in terms of coaching or administration from this region – thank you once again,” added Shishana.