In August, 12 teams travelled to South America to compete at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016 in the hope of leaving with medals around their necks. While only Germany, Sweden and Canada managed to make it to the podium, there is no doubt that every side won new fans along the way and perhaps lit the spark for some of them to aim for the national team themselves one day. After all, every Olympic heroine started out small once. This is just one more reason why it is so important to promote young female talent with the help of FIFA’s Live Your Goals campaign.
With another array of festivals held in August, we take a closer look at two of them in our monthly round-up.
Madagascar: Footballing fun for beginners
Madagascar’s attention turned to women’s football in August as the world’s second largest island nation launched the Live Your Goals campaign. The programme will run for the next four years, with the aim of increasing the number of women and girls actively involved in football – whether as players, coaches or referees – and improving the sport’s status. The project was officially opened at the Stade Municipal de Mahamasima in the Madagascan capital Antananarivo, where 250 women and girls between the ages of eight and 24 gathered to discover the joy of the beautiful game with the help of 25 qualified instructors. Several members of the country’s senior and U-17 national teams – as well as the head coaches of both sides – helped this festival come to fruition and were on hand to provide advice and assistance. The day consisted of 14 different ‘Fun Workshops’ testing the participants’ ball skills, from balance and dribbling games to juggling and shooting practice and even table football.
Rwanda: Driving the growth of women’s football
The LYG Festival in Huye, located in the Rusizi district on the shores of Lake Kivu, was a similarly successful event attended by around 600 girls between the ages of six and 12. Twenty coaches gave the talented youngsters a grounding in ball control, headers and warm-up exercises before organising matches between small teams. The festival gave the schoolgirls the chance to show their sporting side during the various activities while also enabling the instructors to enhance their own expertise.
"The aim of this festival is to equip our girls with more skills and drive the growth of the game in Rwanda," said Felicite Rwemalika, chair of the Women’s Football Committee at the Rwanda Football Association (FERWAFA - Fédération Rwandaise de Football Association). "We’ve seen plenty of talented young girls playing football, so our next task is to organise competitions to help us identify potential future stars and players who can form an U-17 national team. Our intention is that this team will then take part at international competitions over the next year."
In addition to the events mentioned above, festivals were also held in Costa Rica, Armenia, Papua New Guinea, Wales, India, Tanzania, Barbados, Belize, Jordan, Tonga and Moldova.