Indigenous Australians are set to benefit from a four-day FIFA grassroots course that finishes on Friday, 4 October 2013, in Melbourne’s Derebin International Sports Centre. The programme is organised in co-operation with Football Federation Australia Limited.
Conducted by FIFA instructor Samuel Schweingruber, the course focuses on practical and theoretical training in the fields of football coaching and organisation, and it aims at empowering local leaders to implement and deliver sustainable football programmes for indigenous communities, especially in areas where club football may not be an accessible option.
21 coaches, including 12 of indigenous background, joined the programme which is the third of its kind organised by FIFA for indigenous Australians.
“This course gives us an excellent opportunity to maximise participation opportunities in football and provide accessible pathways to elite programmes, thus harnessing the power of football to drive greater social outcomes including education, employment, crime prevention and health," said Schweingruber. "Participants can’t wait to bring football to indigenous children."
John Clark, an indigenous leader in Victoria State, said: “The culture of football has been part of aboriginal dreaming forever. Grassroots will empower out communities to develop and deliver programs that will not only bring football to our children but bring children to football. We are excited by the opportunities FIFA grassroots can bring to our communities.”
FIFA previously organised two similar grassroots courses in Australia, both in Alice Springs in 2011 and 2012. The sport's governing body has also provided teaching material and sports equipment for the Indigenous grassroots program over the last three years.
A few Aborigines, such as Socceroos Kasey Wehrman, Jade North and Travis Dodd, the latter of whom in 2006 became the first Aborigine to score for the national team, have in the past years made the headlines. Female role-models are also fast becoming common-place, notably goalkeeper Lydia Williams and striker Kyah Simon, who both featured at the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in 2011, with Simon’s double against Norway lifting the Matildas into the quarter-finals.
FIFA has organised 69 grassroots courses in 57 countries so far in 2013.