In a bid to boost the school football programme, world football body FIFA today launched a three-day ‘Soccer for Schools’ capacity-building course aimed at accelerating school football on the continent.

South Africa is only the third country on the continent to benefit from the program and today all 52 SAFA regions took part in the three-day course held at the SAFA Technical Centre, in Fun Valley, south of Johannesburg.

Director of FIFA’s Football for Schools Program, Fatimata Sidibe, outlined the idea behind the program.

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“We are very excited to be with the President of South Africa and launch the Football for Schools program in South Africa. You know, football for schools is a program that was launched first, the idea came from our president [Gianni] Infantino and the FIFA 2018 Executive Committee, so we had to launch the program in 211 countries.”

“School football is grassroots football, so it’s not a competition at that level, it’s about how we can develop life skills in schools and how we can help children become better citizens in the future and also learn football,” Sidibe said.

Officials from the Department of Culture, Arts and Culture and their counterparts from the Department of Basic Education were also among the representatives from across the country who joined the 52 regions today.

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Sidibe also talks about the four pillars that make up this program: “So it has four pillars – the first one is life skills, which was developed by UNESCO and FIFA.”

“We have the technical part of how to play football developed by FIFA’s technical experts inside FIFA, we also have digital Sport rador who is our partner who develops the app and we can download it in any country where we launch school. and we have the equipment—we have five million size 4 balls for the kids.”

“We’re partnering with Adidas, we’re doing distribution and there’s also a financial incentive for the federation – a very small one to help get the program going”

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