Thanks to the 2016 European Championships, it’s safe to say the ever familiar ‘football fever’ has gripped nations around the globe once again. It goes without saying that football holds a very special place in the hearts of countless countries across the world, and one country that is immeasurably passionate about football is South Africa. Unfortunately, like many other African countries, youth level football lacks the organisation and structured training that allows talented and enthusiastic children to fulfil their early potential. So with this in mind, we thought now would be the perfect time to talk about our Football Coaching project and the incredible impact it can have.
The Gap Africa Football Coaching project centres on volunteers working with young, underprivileged football players in the local townships and surrounding schools of Port Elizabeth (which will also be your home for the duration of the project!). To help build friendships with the players, volunteers firstly help to organise training clinics and football matches, as well as providing football equipment. In the secondary stages of the project, volunteers then move on to planning football tournaments, which also includes a range of fun team building activities. South African children are incredibly eager to absorb new skills and a deeper knowledge of football, so all our volunteers see first hand just how much the children not only enjoy, but benefit from structured training and relish the opportunity to play something they adore.
Unless you have experience in coaching young children, this project can sound quite daunting – but we actually have an in-country team to help support and guide you every step of the way, so there’s nothing to worry about! Our team includes other volunteers as well as local sports coaches, and everyone’s on hand to offer training ideas and tournament concepts – all helping to create an organised training structure in which the children can truly flourish. Once you feel more confident, it will only be a matter of time before you develop your own unique training techniques, and these will become really special to you and your players. Remember, as part of this programme, all volunteers also have the opportunity to scout for children who may have the potential to play professional football – so there’s always a chance you may just find Africa’s next football superstar!
Coaching sports to disadvantaged children can truly be one of the most rewarding experiences a volunteer can partake in. It can break down cultural barriers, open up new opportunities and help unite communities – an unforgettable legacy which was left behind by Nelson Mandela, who used sport as a tool to both unite and redefine a radically divided South Africa. Sport also holds the power to promote confidence and friendship, something that lies at the very heart of this project, as volunteers build lasting friendships and witness first hand not only the enjoyment they bring, but also the incredible difference they make.
If you’re interested in learning more about our Football Coaching project please click here, or contact us directly for more details. Please don’t worry if you don’t have any previous coaching experience, all that is required for this project is a love of football and a basic knowledge of the game – we’re not looking for the next African football manager, although you could scout them!