Phase 3 of the creative Premier Skills project, run by English Premier League and the British Council, takes place from 26 to 30 November, 2011 at Lekidi Football Centre. The project includes among others intensive coach educator training for purposes of ensuring sustainability in the project.
“The success of the two phases has resulted in Botswana being selected to pilot phase 3 of the project,” said Boitumelo Kgangetsile, British Council project coordinator. “Phase 3 will continue enhancing young people’s skills on the pitch and their self development in football.”
She said the phase will also have a grants scheme component for both individuals and clubs who would like to set up community projects using football as a tool for development.
Premier Skills is an initiative that seeks to use football as a tool to engage with and develop the skills of young people around the world. “Not only does the project entail the development of coaching and refereeing skills, for both males and females, it also provides skills for setting up sustainable community projects at grassroots level using football to tackle issues such as health, disability, gender, social inclusion and education,” she said.
According to Kgangetsile the project targets young pupils, prison inmates, the disabled, female football clubs and community male football clubs. Being an international project, Premier Skills facilitates the linking of global community projects and the building of long-term partnerships that aim to change the lives of many people.
Premier Skills has already had a positive impact in its first stages. “Botswana has succeeded in implementing two phases of the Premier Skills project and these entailed the training of 48 coaches and 20 referees using top coaches like Warren Barton and Robbie Earle and reached more than 500 pupils,” she said.
“At home the Premier League and our Clubs have a long-held commitment and reputation for investing in community and education programmes. Given our popularity and success internationally we felt it only right to take this approach to a wider community,” Premier League Chief Executive, Richard Scudamore, said in a communiqu├®. “The Premier League is becoming increasingly popular in Botswana and it is important we use our profile and reach to encourage and engage communities. The rollout of Premier Skills projects will do just that.”
In addition he said, “Our partnership with the British Council, using top coaches like Warren Barton and Robbie Earle, will help develop the skills of local youth leaders for the long term benefit of their local communities.”
In 2010 a Memorandum of Understanding on the implementation and management of the project was signed between the Botswana Football Association and the British Council, thus formalising a partnership between the two parties.