The British Council seems determined to take local soccer to another level.
After splashing P350 000 towards youth development in the country two weeks ago, the British Council has done it again. They have launched a new, innovative coaching project called Premier Skills. Premier League Skills is a grassroots project that helps develop the coaching skills of young coaches.
The project was launched on Thursday at Lekidi Football Centre and attracted coaches from several centers in Botswana. Among those who were present were youth coaches from England, representatives from the British Council and Botswana Football Association (BFA) officials. In his opening remarks, the BFA President, David Fani, applauded the British Council for their efforts.
Fani said the British Council is helping to nurture Botswana’s future stars who would, in the future, make it to the elite leagues around the world.
British Council representative, Stephen Forbes, said the timing of the project is good, bearing in mind that the 2010 World Cup, to be held in neighbouring South Africa, is just around the corner.
“In Botswana you need only to be in the streets of Gaborone when the Zebras are playing to know that a passion for football applies here as much as anywhere else. And there is no better time to host this event when Botswana is looking forward to having the World Cup in their neighbourhood and will be hosting international teams for 2010 in South Africa. Young people will ultimately benefit from this tournament when coaches return home. Football is a platform for them to develop life skills such as teamwork, co-operation and leadership and it instills knowledge about healthy attitudes,” he said. On the other hand, Kate Hodgkinson of the Premier League was delighted to have been part of the launch and added that the programme aims to train 1000 young adults and, in turn, enable them to enrich the lives of a further 10 000 young people through football.
“The project is designed as a progressive learning experience that enables the participants to demonstrate a range of competencies and the potential to develop their coaching skills and knowledge when they return to their communities. The Premier skills coach development programme demonstrates how football can be used to support the development of social inclusion health promotion, education and equality. As part of our ongoing commitment, we have brought over four fully qualified professional coaches from the United Kingdom who will conduct the programme and help the participants to build action plans and sessions to benefit their communities,” she said.
The coaches that will be gracing the event are a former player, Robbie Earle, academy goalkeeping coach, Vic Bettinelli from Fulham FC, Alex Cawley and Adam Lea, who are community coaches from Portmouth FC. All coaches are reported to be UEFA qualified coaches. The Gaborone course is one of the 20 that will be rolled out across Africa, India, China and South East Asia by 2009.
Premier Skills was piloted in Alexandria and Cairo (Egypt) New Delhi and Kolkata in India.