Football for Schools program launched in Djibouti

  • Football for Schools starts in Djibouti

  • Djibouti and Mauritania the only African countries to have adopted the program

  • Football for Schools puts football at the heart of social development

May was a busy month for the Football for Schools programme. The following starts in Guam, Guyana and Puerto Ricolanded it in Africa, where the FIFA Foundation organized a workshop in Djibouti from May 9th to 12th. The three-day event took place in a relaxed atmosphere and included theoretical modules in the classroom and practical exercises on the pitch. An official opening ceremony for the Football for Schools program was also held on the final day. Among those in attendance was Côte d’Ivoire women’s national team coach and FIFA legend, Clementine Toure.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for young people in Djibouti,” said Toure. “A lot of young people don’t have the opportunity to express themselves. Playing soccer at school encourages children to develop team spirit. It brings them together, shares an experience and develops their self-control.” Those are the goals of Football for Schools. Developed in partnership with UNESCO, the initiative aims to educate, develop and empower nearly 700 million children worldwide. It also strives to make football more accessible to boys and girls around the world by making football an integral part of the school system. “As a sports teacher and football coach, I am always faced with this challenge,” says workshop participant Fathia Galab. “I find it particularly difficult to get young girls out of the home and onto the football field. Luckily the school can do that for us. It gives them a chance to express themselves with a ball at their feet and lets us see a different side of them.”

Djibouti certainly has no shortage of talent. The women’s national team recently reached the final round of qualifying for the CAF Women’s Africa Cup of Nations 2022 before heading to Burundi. Meanwhile, the men’s national team won their first-round tie in the preliminary rounds for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, a feat they had only managed once in South Africa 2010 qualifiers. There is definitely hope in this part of Africa. “This program comes at exactly the right time to Djibouti,” said Souleiman Hassan Waberi, President of the Djibouti Football Association. “It is an initiative that complements what we have already been doing in recent years. We will keep working to make things work. Our teachers and trainers are now well equipped to mentor students and organize tournaments and I am sure Djibouti will make the most of this program.”

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