Friday 28 October 2022, 14:45

Children embracing Football for Schools in Indonesia

  • Two-day Football for Schools course launched in Indonesia on Wednesday

  • Thirty teachers and 100 school kids attended

  • Football passion being developed in South East Asia’s most populous nation

Indonesia, with a population of over 270 million, are never short of football passion. Big strides have been made in Indonesia over recent years under the guidance of the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) and with the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup Indonesia™ kicking off in just over six months’ time, the Southeast Asian country are looking in earnest to showcase their progress in front of the watching world. The next generation of youngsters had the opportunity to display their enthusiasm for the world game as the first Football for Schools (F4S) course took place this week in the capital, Jakarta.

PSSI President Mochamad Iriawan (L) and Fatimata Sidibe from Football for Schools programme pose for a photo during a Football for Schools course in Indonesia

Launched in 2019 by FIFA in collaboration with UNESCO, the F4S programme aims to make football accessible to both boys and girls across the globe by incorporating football activities into the education system, empowering the youngsters with valuable life skills and competencies through football. These objectives were implemented throughout the two-day F4S course in Indonesia. Entitled the ‘FIFA Football for Schools Capacity Building Workshop’, the course reached out to 300 local school kids and 30 teachers. Launched at Gelora Bung Karno Complex of Jakarta, the course conducted by three FIFA experts included both theoretical and practical sessions aimed at instilling footballing philosophy into these young minds and educating them with life skills and competency.

Indonesian legend Bambang Pamungkas with kids during the Football for Schools course in Jakarta.

Among the attendees were local superstars Bambang Pamungkas and Marco Motta, while PSSI President Mochamad Iriawan offered words of inspiration for the attendees, saying: “This program is not just about football or school, This is a life lesson. Instructors, coaches, and teachers will be role models and have a strong influence on children. After this program, you will have a strong relationship with each other. “I hope that in 10 or 15 years the children here, male or female, can become stars in the football or in other fields. What is certain is that it can make a real contribution to our beloved country, Indonesia. You are the future of Indonesia. You are Indonesian. With different cultural and religious backgrounds, you come here to play and learn together.”

Attendees pose for a photo during a Football for Schools course in Indonesia

Alexandre Gros, FIFA Football for Schools Project Leader, said: "Our goal in Indonesia is for as many children as possible, boys and girls, to have the opportunity to have a fun-first contact with the sport of football at school. The overall objective is two-fold: increasing participation in the game and ensuring that the children learn some important life-skills and values through the game." The course started with the teachers downloading a free F4S application where they can continue football education online. This is a tool which includes hundreds of hours of videos tutorials of delivering educational messages and conducting grassroots football coaching sessions for children aged between 4 and 14.

"Our F4S app is already available in 25 languages including Indonesian, with many more to come," continued Gros. "It means that PE teachers from across the planet will have access to the knowledge contained in this app. By making the app available to anyone and everyone in Indonesia with a smartphone (simply type ‘FIFA Football for Schools’ in Google Play or the App Store) for free, and delivering hundreds of thousands of size 4 adidas balls to schools, we hope to democratise access to football coaching in particular through the physical education (PE) teachers in schools." As the worlds fourth largest and Southeast Asia's most populous nation, Indonesia’s footballing potential is enormous. Understandably, Gros has high hopes of F4S making a growing impact in the football-mad nation. "All the ingredients are present for a programme such as Football for Schools to be successful so we expect big things from this project in Indonesia, both in terms of numbers reached and impact. But beyond that, in terms of influence that the game of football can have on the citizens of tomorrow, Football for Schools can plant the seeds for important notions of personal development, relationships, respect, equality, health (both physical and mental) and hundreds of other crucial topics thereby encouraging children to stay in school, pick up healthy habits and keep learning through life," he concluded.