There have been a monumental few days in terms of football in Papua New Guinea, as several projects have been officially launched within the framework of the FIFA and Papua New Guinea Football Association’s Legacy programme as the countdown to the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup begins.
For every single FIFA women’s competition, a legacy programme is designed alongside the host nation. FIFA’s is determined to create long-lasting impact beyond the tournament.
“In Papua New Guinea, we are working to strengthening pathway of women from grassroots, youth to elite level, while touching crucial aspects of development such as coaching education,” explained Mayi Cruz Blanco, FIFA Senior Women’s Football Development Manager. “We are leveraging existing programmes such as Merifutbol and making sure girls and women find the way to get involved in football.”
Morace leads coaching course
To this end, on Monday 28 June, a course for coaches working in the Merifutbol programme and the women’s national league was officially opened. The course is part of the women’s football development plan in Papua New Guinea and has been conducted by FIFA Instructor, Carolina Morace.
Morace, who had a fine career as a player and as a coach, and who recently was appointed as part of the FIFA Legends initiative, thoroughly enjoyed the experience. “The people of PNG are very friendly and the participants wanted to learn as much as possible,” she told FIFA.com.
“When I asked them if they wanted a break they preferred to keep going! They asked me so many questions which is great as it shows that they are thinking all the time about the technical and tactical information I’m sharing with them.”
Live Your Goals launched
Following the conclusion of the course, ‘Live Your Goals’ was launched on Sunday 3 July, at the Sir John Guise Stadium in Port Moresby by the Papua New Guinea FA president David Chung. The programme will target young girls in the country to play football, but also promote and empower then to become active participants. Over 200 girls participated in the Live Your Goals festival organised to mark the launch.
Papua New Guinea joins now 72 other FIFA member associations who are implementing Live Your Goals across the globe. During 2016, Live Your Goals will be rolled out in Port Moresby, Lae, Goroka and Buka. Five more events are planned throughout the year. The event coincided with the Host City Governor Powes Parkop’s popular health initiative the ‘Walk for Life’ programme which attracted thousands of city residents.
Chung said: “Women’s football is growing rapidly and the programme provides a golden opportunity for women and girls to develop healthy lifestyles and participate in the sport as players and professionals,” he said. "It is envisaged that through the hosting of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, women can be inspired and empowered to tackle gender prejudice and discrimination in a country like Papua New Guinea.”
Speaking at the Live Your Goals launch, Margaret Aka, the Coordinator of the Legacy Programme stressed that the programme would be implemented throughout the country, saying: “We are working closely with the different regions and communities, to ensure that we take the game of football to as many young girls as possible, while ensuring sustainable development.”
Sixteen schools introduced to FIFA 11 for Health
On Monday, the FIFA 11 for Health training programme was launched at the Marianville Secondary School in Port Moresby. Over the coming months, the health, education and training legacy programmes will be rolled out to 16 schools in the area.
The FIFA 11 for Health programme places emphasis on the need to reduce the level of communicable and non-communicable health issues or diseases and is supported through the engagement and involvement of renowned football players.
The 11 key messages are: play football, respect girls and women, protect yourself from HIV and TB, avoid drugs and alcohol, use treated bed nets, wash your hands, drink clean water, eat a balanced diet, get vaccinated, take your prescribed medication and fair play.
“We are privileged to have FIFA roll-out its 11 for Health Programme in our schools in the National Capital District as part of its legacy programmes,” said Parkop. “The 11 for Health programme is not just about football but also about health and lifestyle. It teaches our young children about respect, avoiding harmful substances, having balanced diet and living a healthy lifestyle.”
In response to Parkop’s comments, FIFA Medical’s Claudia Grasser highlighted how the programme is a series of football-based sessions aimed at encouraging physical activity and educating children about healthy behaviours. “The health of a nation is the wealth of a nation and this is what the programme is all about. Together with the government, Papua New Guinea Football Association and FIFA, we are aiming to contribute to the improvement of the health of the people here in the country,” she added.
Representatives from F-MARC flew into the country over the weekend and will be conducting the training for 32 teachers from the 16 selected schools in the capital district.
After the training each teacher will be given a coaching manual with equipment provided by FIFA to run the programmes at each of their schools for 11 weeks. Upon completion of the programme in the selected schools, the students will be presented with certificates during the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in November.
”We are excited with the progress of the nationwide implementation of the FIFA 11 for Health programme with the support of the PNG FA and the government,” stated Prof Jiri Dvorak, FIFA’s Chief Medical Officer, who visited the country in February and May of this year.