Thursday 12 May 2022, 14:00

Football for Schools arrives in the Caribbean

  • Guyana becomes first Caribbean nation to embrace programme

  • Football for Schools puts football at heart of social development

  • FIFA Legends attended educational workshop in Providence

Guyana has become the first Caribbean FIFA member association to host a Football for Schools programme, which was attended by three FIFA Legends in Providence. During the event, a Memorandum of Understanding was also signed by the Guyana Football Federation (GFF), the Guyana government and the FIFA Foundation on the important role school football plays in children’s education and social development.

Former Colombia goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon, veteran of three FIFA World Cups™, Rosana dos Santos Augusto, who represented Brazil at four FIFA Women’s World Cups™, and four Olympic Tournaments, and former Jamaica international and current Reggae Girlz U-20 assistant coach Tashana Vincent attended the workshop, and spoke to the children about the lessons that can be learnt from football. “Football taught me a lot of things. Football taught me to be disciplined and to persevere,” said Rosana, who made 112 appearances for the Brazil women’s team and won two Olympic silver medals. “It got me to believe that I could break down barriers, because, in my time, women couldn’t play football. Even so, I achieved a lot, thanks to football and I’m forever grateful."

Sport is the world's greatest social tool."
FIFA Legend, Faryd Mondragon

FIFA’s Football for Schools project encourages youth participation in football at school through structured sessions available on a mobile app, using football games to convey educational messages and encouraging children to take responsibility for their decisions in a safe and supportive environment. “Using football, we can have a positive impact on a lot of boys, girls and societies in terms of education, values and aspirational examples. These can serve as a mirror for the children and allow them to have dreams and see themselves as one of us in the future," declared Mondragon. “There are a lot of things I’ve learnt in my life and in football. Being on different pitches, in different countries, and in different circumstances. The better a human being you are, the more of a star player you’ll be.”

This project, which is being undertaken globally, puts football right at the heart of social development, focusing on both improving children’s footballing ability, as well as shaping them as young adults. “(This project) aims to provide children, the citizens of tomorrow, with some life skills and we teach these life skills through football,” said the Project Leader for Football for Schools Alexandre Gros. “In addition, the more children play football at school, the more players there are to choose from for football teams, the bigger the pool is to choose from for the national team and the better the Guyanese national team will become.”

Guyana’s men are currently ranked 174th in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, with the women in 90th place and there is great hope that the sport can progress. However, the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) know football is about more than performance on the pitch “Football in Guyana and football in the Caribbean, from where I sit has changed the lives of many,” said Camara David, the CFU’s General Secretary. “You will definitely see in the next couple of years, the real impact of this programme. You will see a change not only in the level of the quality of football in Guyana, but it’s also about developing good citizens of Guyana, good citizens of the Caribbean. “Therefore, the impact is immeasurable and the value of such a programme for the community is immense.”